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2017-08-10 17:01:03
Uber Investor Sues Travis Kalanick for Fraud

SAN FRANCISCO — Travis Kalanick, who built Uber into a transportation behemoth, was ousted as chief executive of the ride-hailing company in June by unhappy investors. Now one of those investors has escalated the battle by suing Mr. Kalanick claiming fraud and other transgressions, in an attempt to remove him from Uber’s board of directors.

Benchmark, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that is one of Uber’s largest shareholders, filed suit against Mr. Kalanick on Thursday in Delaware Chancery Court, accusing the former C.E.O. of fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

The suit said Mr. Kalanick failed to disclose a pattern of misbehavior and impropriety inside the company while he was Uber’s leader. The entrepreneur’s “overarching objective is to pack Uber’s Board with loyal allies in an effort to insulate his prior conduct from scrutiny and clear the path for his eventual return as C.E.O. — all to the detriment of Uber’s stockholders, employees, driver-partners, and customers,” the suit said.

The suit added that Mr. Kalanick’s position on Uber’s board “is thus improper and inequitable, and should be invalidated.”

The move marked a new level of power politicking over wresting control of the fate of Uber, the privately held company that is valued at nearly $70 billion. Mr. Kalanick, who had built Uber up over the past eight years, stepped down in June after pressure from investors, leaving no clear successor. Mr. Kalanick remained on Uber’s board.

Uber’s directors have since been fighting behind the scenes over matters including potential C.E.O. candidates and new investment into the company. Mr. Kalanick has been active in those discussions, people with knowledge of Uber’s board have previously said.

Benchmark declined to comment further, and Uber declined to comment.

A spokesman for Mr. Kalanick said, “The lawsuit is completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations.” The spokesman said Benchmark was acting in “its own best interests” instead of those of Uber, and added that Mr. Kalanick “is confident that these entirely baseless claims will be rejected.”