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Uber Investor Benchmark Sues Former CEO Travis Kalanick

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Venture capital firm Benchmark Capital, one of Uber's largest shareholders, filed a lawsuit against Travis Kalanick, co-founder and ousted CEO of the ride-hailing company over allegations of fraud, reports said.

The suit, filed in the Delaware Chancery Court, accuses Kalanick of fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. Benchmark is aiming for a preliminary injuction to remove Kalanick from Uber's board of directors.

Both Kalanick and Benchmark hold seats at the Board of the privately held company that is valued at nearly $70 billion.

In the suit, Benchmark claims that Kalanick has not honored the terms of his resignation and has been trying to change the board for his own advantage.

According to the suit, Kalanick'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 CEO — all to the detriment of Uber's stockholders, employees, driver-partners, and customers."

Kalanick's position on Uber's board is thus improper and inequitable, and should be invalidated, the firm said.

The complaint reportedly is based on a 2016 decision that expanded the size of Uber's board to 11 from eight, and Kalanick was given the right to choose those seats. When he lost his CEO seat, Kalanick eventually gave one of those to himself, while the other two are yet to be filled.

Following pressure from investors, Kalanick in June stepped down as CEO from the company he built over the last eight years. The company is still searching for a potential replacement for the top job.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Kalanick reportedly said, "The lawsuit is completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations... Benchmark's lawsuit is a transparent attempt to deprive Travis Kalanick of his rights as a founder and shareholder and to silence his voice regarding the management of the company he helped create. Travis will continue to act in the interests of Uber and all of its stakeholders and is confident that these entirely baseless claims will be rejected."

The spokesman said Benchmark was acting in its own best interests instead of those of Uber, its employees and its other shareholders.

by RTT Staff Writer

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