South Korea Indicts Uber CEO

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

South Korean prosecutors have indicted the CEO and local subsidiary of Uber for operating an illegal taxi service, becoming the latest roadblock for the ride-sharing app, according to Reuters.

CEO Travis Kalanick and Uber’s partner MK Korea, a domestic rental-car service operator, were charged with violating a South Korean law that prohibits individuals or firms from using rental cars for paid transportation services without appropriate licenses, said the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison or a fine of 20 million won (USD $18,121).

Uber said in its statement on Wednesday that it plans to fully cooperate with the investigation and that it is “confident” that the South Korean court will make a fair and sensible judgement.

“We firmly believe that our service, which connects drivers and riders via an application, is not only legal in Korea, but that it is being welcomed and supported by consumers,” said the California-based company.

On Friday, the Seoul city government passed a measure that offered a financial reward of 1 million won (USD $910) for those who reported Uber’s illegal drivers, according to Yonhap. The decision came after Seoul repeatedly accused Uber of engaging in illegal transportation services, which the company denied.

This year has been a rough ride for Uber as it weathered numerous scandals and sparked protests by cabbies around the globe. The company made headlines earlier this month when a passenger was allegedly raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi.

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Beck Difenbach