Uber at war: Major investor sues cofounder Travis Kalanick for fraud

It’s looking bleak

One of Uber's earliest and largest investors, Benchmark, is now suing both the company and former CEO Travis Kalanick, the latter for fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Benchmark Capital Partners VII, an early-stage funder of numerous Silicon Valley startups, sued Uber's former CEO Travis Kalanick claiming he fraudulently concealed his own mismanagement of the company when he obtained control of three board seats in June 2016. It suspects that Kalanick is trying to pack Uber's board with his allies and eventually return to his post as CEO.

In a statement, Kalanick stated that the suit was "completely baseless" and "riddled with lies".

The San Francisco based company operates in over 600 cities worldwide and boosts of over 12,000 employees, after Kalanick's exit the company is now looking for a CEO but has made little headway.

Uber declined to comment on the letter. Uber still has yet to find a replacement for Mr Kalanick as chief executive.

Those, along with a "host of other inappropriate and unethical" orders issued by Kalanick, would have all caused Benchmark to deny his request to appoint the additional board members.

Meanwhile, Pishevar is seeking other investors to come to his side to remove Benchmark Capital, according to the email, stating others are already interested in buying the shares the firm must divest.

The suit has again raised doubts about Uber's future and more about Kalanick's role going forward.

The complaint also raises other scandals alleged to have involved Kalanick, including an executive's mishandling of a rape victim's medical files, a visit by executives to a South Korean escort bar, and Greyball, a program used by Uber to deceive local law enforcement agencies in areas where the ride-hail service was illegal.

Benchmark also argues Kalanick knew Uber might be accused of stealing trade secrets from Waymo, Google parent Alphabet's self-driving vehicle unit.

Kalanick reportedly added the three slots to the board of directors in June 2016, making a total of 11. The other two seats are now unoccupied anyway, but it is these that Benchmark alleges were aimed at his "Yes Men".

Recode reported last month that Kalanick was telling colleagues he was "Steve Jobs-ing" - planning to make a comeback at the company akin to the one the late Apple founder made toward the end of 1990s.

Uber's embattled founder and chief executive, Travis Kalanick, might have stepped down-but the company's problems are far from gone.

Meanwhile, Uber's senior vice president, Ryan Graves, is stepping away from his executive position to focus exclusively on his role as Uber's board director and "the selection of our new CEO".

On Thursday, Uber's first employee, Ryan Graves, left the company but chose to stay on its board.

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