Four Uber drivers were fined by a Danish court on Monday for operating taxis illegally while working for the ride hailing service before it withdrew from the market in April.
The four men, one of whom was fined 486,500 Danish crowns ($78,060), were charged in March for failing to have permits and for violating a law introduced in February that imposed extra rules on taxis operating in Denmark, police said.
Another 1,500 Uber drivers also faced charges of illegally operating taxis, Vibeke Thorkil-Jensen, head of public prosecution for Copenhagen police, told Reuters. She did not give further details about the charges.
After launching its service in Denmark in 2014, Uber was criticized by taxi driver unions, companies, and politicians who said the firm posed unfair competition by not meeting legal standards required for established taxi firms.
Parliament passed a law in February 2017 that introduced more stringent requirements on taxis, such as mandatory fare meters and seat sensors. The new rules prompted Uber's withdrawal.
Union officials said Uber had operated illegally even before the new law was passed. In November, a student was fined for failure to have a permit while working for Uber.
In Monday's ruling, one of the four drivers was fined 486,500 crowns for making 5,427 illegal taxi rides with Uber in 2015, Copenhagen district court said in a statement. Three others were fined between 40,000 and 110,000 crowns, it said.
"We are very disappointed for the drivers involved and our top priority is to support them during this difficult time," said an Uber spokeswoman. She said it welcomed regulations in Denmark but there was a "clear need for modern regulations."
A lawyer acting for the drivers said at least three of the men would appeal their conviction, the Danish news agency Ritzau reported.
Reuters could not immediately reach the four drivers or lawyers acting for them.
Uber, whose drivers have faced criticism from traditional taxi operators in other markets around the world, picked Expedia boss Dara Khosrowshahi as its new chief executive replacing co-founder Travis Kalanick.
Kalanick resigned in June, under pressure following accounts of a corporate culture of sexism and bullying, as well as a U.S. Department of Justice federal investigation filed by Alphabet's (googl, +0.86%) autonomous car division.
In U.S. Uber is under investigation for possible bribery law violations :
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] said on Tuesday it was cooperating with a preliminary investigation led by the U.S. Department of Justice into possible violations of bribery laws.
The preliminary investigation is the latest in a series of legal wrangles at Uber as the ride-services company waits for its new chief executive to take the reins.
Uber has chosen Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Expedia Inc (EXPE.O), as it next leader, sources have told Reuters, but the company has not yet made it official.
A spokesman for the company confirmed the existence of a “preliminary investigation” following a report by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that the Justice Department had started probing whether managers at Uber violated U.S. laws against bribery of foreign officials, specifically the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
It is unclear whether authorities are focused on one country or multiple countries where the company operates.
Reuters in June reported that Uber had hired a law firm to investigate how it obtained the medical records of an Indian woman who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014. The review was to focus in part on accusations from some current and former employees that bribes were involved, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Uber board on Sunday voted to select Khosrowshahi as the company’s next leader to replace co-founder Travis Kalanick, who was ousted in June under shareholder pressure, sources told Reuters.
Khosrowshahi, 48, on Tuesday made his first public comments since the board’s decision to make him CEO in two interviews in which he confirmed he plans to accept Uber’s top job, despite the company’s many problems. He made the comments at a previously scheduled event at Expedia’s headquarters in Bellevue, Washington.
“Are there difficulties? Are there complexities? Are there challenges? Absolutely, but that’s also what makes it fun,” Khosrowshahi told Bloomberg.
Khosrowshahi has not responded to inquires from Reuters.