French opposition MPs on Sunday denounced reports of a secret deal between President Emmanuel Macron, when he was a minister under the socialist government, and online transportation giant Uber.
The allegations emerge in the latest data-driven investigation conducted by leading international news outlets based on leaked files billed as #UberFiles on social media.
A report in French newspaper Le Monde, citing documents, text messages and witnesses, alleges that Uber made a secret “deal” with Mr Macron when he was economy minister between 2014 and 2016.
The Le Monde report highlighted what it said the Macron ministry was helping Uber shore up its foothold in France, for example by asking the company to submit “ready-made” amendments to MPs to help their cause.
Opposition MPs denounced what they say was a close collaboration between Mr Macron and Uber at a time when the company tried to circumvent heavy government regulation of its sector.
Uber France confirmed that both parties were in contact and meetings with Mr Macron were normal for his ministerial duties, which concerned the private sector.
The Office of the President said that at the time, Mr Macron, in his capacity as Economy Minister, was “naturally” in contact with “many companies involved in the profound changes in the service sector that have taken place over the years mentioned, which should be alleviated by unraveling certain administrative or regulatory locks “.
But Mathilde Pano, the parliamentary leader of the far-left opposition party Unbowed France, denounced on Twitter what she called “the robbery of the country” during Macron’s tenure as minister under then-President François Hollande.
She described Macron as a “lobbyist” for “an international corporation in the United States seeking to permanently deregulate labor laws.”
“Against all our rules”
Communist Party leader Fabien Roussel described the Le Monde story as “an exposure of the active role of Emmanuel Macron, then minister, in promoting the development of Uber in France.”
“Against all our rules, all our social and workers’ rights,” he tweeted.
Communist MP Pierre Darreville called for a parliamentary inquiry into the case.
Jordan Bardella, president of the far-right National Rally party, tweeted that the revelations showed that Macron’s career had a “common thread: to serve private interests, often foreign rather than national interests.”
The UberFiles investigation is based on the leak of tens of thousands of documents to the British Guardian newspaper from an anonymous source and is coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
ICIJ is working on this story with 42 media partners around the world.