Hagens Berman Blog

Whistleblower News: Cryptocurrency, Uber, Electric Cars

by HB Whistleblower Legal Team

01/11/2018

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Court overturns verdict against Luxembourg tax whistleblower

A Luxembourg court on Thursday overturned a verdict against a former accounting firm employee who leaked thousands of secret documents to a journalist investigating sweetheart tax deals the government granted to big foreign companies.

The Court of Cassation ruled that Antoine Deltour should have been recognized as a whistleblower, a status that could afford him additional legal protection. It ordered judges to reconsider their verdict against him. read more »

South Korea plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, rattles market

South Korea’s government said on Thursday it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil as the nation’s police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion.

The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymakers around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value has skyrocketed over the last year. read more »

Uber Used Another Secret Software Program To Evade Police

The primary task of new Uber C.E.O. Dara Khosrowshahi has, at times, seemed less like management than mopping exercise. Since taking over from Travis Kalanick in August, Khosrowshahi has overseen a brutal boardroom civil war, the continued exodus of top talent, and a $20 billion valuation haircut. But as he works to rebrand Uber in the eyes of the public and set the company back on track, he continues to uncover new messes that Kalanick left behind, including regulatory threats to Uber’s business abroad, and a major data breach made worse by former employees’ efforts to conceal it. Now, as Bloomberg reports, Khosrowshahi must dodge the fallout from the news that Uber regularly employed a secret program to shut down its computer systems and evade authorities in the event of a police raid.

By enacting the program, employees were able to lock data on Uber’s devices, change passwords, or shut down company-owned computers and phones entirely, shielding data from authorities, even when those authorities had warrants for information in Uber’s system. The program was reportedly used at least two dozen times in cities such as Quebec, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris during police raids of Uber offices. read more »

Hype Meets Reality as Electric Car Dreams Run Into Metal Crunch

When BMW AG revealed it was designing electric versions of its X3 SUV and Mini, the going rate for 21 kilograms of cobalt—the amount of the metal needed to power typical car batteries—was under $600.

Only 16 months later, the price tag is approaching $1,700 and climbing by the day.

For carmakers vying to fill their fleets with electric vehicles, the spike has been a rude awakening as to how much their success is riding on the scarce silvery-blue mineral found predominantly in one of the world’s most corrupt and underdeveloped countries. read more »