Uber CEO Kalanick Indicted as Asian Authorities Crack Down on E-Hail Service – Skift

TechCrunch  / Flickr

Uber Technologies Inc.
Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick was indicted in South Korea and
Chinese police raided a company training site in the latest instances
of government scrutiny of the car-booking company.

Kalanick, Uber’s Korean unit and car-rental partner MK Korea were
indicted yesterday by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office for
flouting a local transportation law prohibiting rental cars from
operating as cabs, according to an official at the department, who asked
not to be named citing internal policy. The official declined to
comment on whether prosecutors expect Kalanick to appear for
questioning.

In the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, police raided a site
that Uber used to train drivers after receiving information that private
vehicle owners were signing up to provide transportation services
without the required permit, the China News Service reported on Friday.
The company is “actively communicating and seeking clarification” from
the Chongqing government, it said in an e-mailed statement.

Uber became the most highly valued U.S. technology startup after a
fundraising round this month valued it at $40 billion. The San
Francisco-based car-booking company is coming under increased scrutiny
worldwide as governments step up regulation of its car-sharing service,
which licensed taxi operators call unfair competition.

In Asia, the company’s screening practice was criticized after
allegations that one of its drivers raped a woman in New Delhi, while
Vietnam and Taiwan have declared its services to be illegal.

Korea Indictment

Evelyn Tay, Uber’s Asia Pacific spokeswoman, didn’t answer two calls
to her office or immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment
on the indictment in South Korea, which was reported earlier by Yonhap
News.

The company said in August it had sought a legal opinion and that its
Seoul service obeys the law. Paid transportation with unregistered
vehicles is “clearly illegal activity,” South Korea’s Ministry of Land,
Infrastructure and Transport said later that month.

Separately in Korea, Yonhap News reported that prosecutors plan to
seek an arrest warrant for Heather Cho, daughter of Korean Air Lines
Co.’s chairman, after she forced an employee to deplane over the service
of macademia nuts. Phone calls to the prosecutors’ office weren’t
answered.

 – Skift

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