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Danish supreme court upholds fines given to Uber drivers

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Danish supreme court upholds fines given to Uber drivers
File photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix
16:14 CEST+02:00
The Danish supreme court Højesteret has upheld fines totalling 700,000 kroner (94,000 euros) given to four men for operating illegal taxi services as Uber drivers in 2015.

The four drivers will therefore be required to pay respective fines of 486,500 kroner, 110,000 kroner, 60,000 kroner and 40,000 kroner.

Special prosecutor Anne Risager expressed her satisfaction with the outcome.

“It was important to make a statement about the cost of breaking taxi laws to such a large extent as seen here,” Risager said.

The size of the fines equates to the earnings made by the four drivers from transporting paying passengers in private vehicles using the Uber app.

The ride-sharing service announced its withdrawal from Denmark in March 2017, having launched operations in the country in 2014.

Although a prosecution request to increase the fines by 20 percent of drivers’ earnings was rejected by the court, Risager said the result was satisfactory.

“The most important thing for us was that they did not make earnings through breaking taxi laws. The fines are at a level that made this unprofitable,” she said.

Defence lawyer Poul Helmuth Petersen said he was disappointed on his clients’ behalf but gave no further comment.

An unnamed spokesperson with Uber also expressed disappointment at the decision in a written comment.

The cases against the four men are test cases, given that the court was required to make judgements based on Dutch tax records. Uber’s European head office is in the Netherlands, and the Dutch evidence was therefore the first of its kind to be used in a Danish case.

The finding of the supreme court that the material was passable sets a precedent for up to 1,500 new cases against former Uber drivers whose details were handed over to Danish police voluntarily by Uber’s Dutch office.

That information includes names, bank details, addresses and earnings of drivers who used the app for work.

According to Danish tax authority Skat, 2,134 Uber drivers collected 56 million kroner in Denmark in 2015.

Police have also awaited the outcome of the case in order to commence prosecution of Uber itself for participation in providing illegal taxi services in Denmark.

The four drivers had sought acquittal, with their lawyers arguing against the use of tax records as evidence.

READ ALSO: Uber wants to return to Denmark after admitting past mistakes

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