The CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, is now a wanted man in South Korea. Uber isn’t exactly a stranger to being pursued by the law for its questionable business practice, but this latest indictment by the South Korea is a pretty big deal considering that Kalanick can be charged with two years of prison time or a fine of 20 million Won (about RM63,000).
This comes from the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office who prosecuted Kalanick, Uber’s Korean unit, and MK Korea for breaking a local transportation law that prohibits rental cars from operating as taxis. Uber has released a statement regarding the indictment:
Uber Technologies respects the Korean legal system and will provide its full cooperation. 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. At the same time, Uber does not believe it is appropriate for authorities to seek to punish drivers who are trying to make a living through this service. We are confident that the Korean court will uphold a fair and sensible judgement on this case.
South Korea clamped down pretty hard on the taxi service, going as far as to reward its citizens 1 million Won (approximately RM3,000) for reporting Uber’s “illegal activities.” Despite this action from the South Korean government, Uber still operates in the nation.
Despite the indictment, it is unknown what sentence Kalanick will receive; or even if the sentence will be enforced, considering that the Uber CEO does not operate from South Korea. This could most likely be a symbolic judgment to further discourage Uber from operating in the country. The CEO of Uber has yet to respond to the indictment.