April 27, 2017 13:14
The Seoul Central District Court on Wednesday fined Uber a nominal W10 million for illegally using private vehicles for commercial purposes (US$1=W1,129).
The app-based chauffeur service started business in Korea in 2013 in partnership with a local car rental company, but faced stiff resistance from taxi companies.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government hounded the company to the point of offering a W1 million reward to people who report Uber drivers and eventually turned to prosecutors to deal with the problem.
Korean law says that car rental companies cannot operate cab services or solicit such business, and the court summoned Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and other executives to explain themselves.
But Kalanick refused to appear in court for more than two years, causing severe delays to the trial. The court sought the assistance of U.S. authorities to ensure that he can be served his summons, but the U.S. Justice Department refused because Uber is not illegal in America.
In the meantime, however, Uber managed to resolve the legal issues. The judge said Uber's local branch has "admitted and repented" its illegal acts and the city government and taxi drivers' cooperative no longer wish to push ahead with the criminal suit.
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