Danish prosecutor indicts Uber over driver violations

COPENHAGEN, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Ride-hailing group Uber Technologies' European business has been indicted in Denmark on charges of assisting two drivers in violating taxi laws, the Copenhagen police's head of public prosecutions said on Friday.

The indictment of Uber BV is a test case seeking judicial assessment of possible complicity by the company in illegal acts by its drivers, Copenhagen police's top prosecutor Vibeke Thorkil-Jensen's said in a news release.

An Uber driver in Denmark was convicted last month of violating taxi laws and fined 6,000 Danish crowns ($855), the latest blow to the ride-hailing service that has stirred protest and legal action worldwide. A second driver was sentenced in absentia after failing to appear in court.

Uber has run into legal hurdles in numerous countries and some of its drivers, who are not covered by strict licensing and safety rules, have been convicted of operating illegal taxi services.

This is the first time Uber itself has been indicted in Denmark.

"We welcome the opportunity to clarify our legal position to the prosecutor," an Uber spokesperson told Reuters, adding that the company is encouraged by recent indications that the Danish government intends to "modernize" regulations.

The Copenhagen prosecutor will initially seek to fine Uber 30,000 Danish crowns, Thorkil-Jensen said. If the court rules against Uber, the prosecutor said that separate fines could be sought for any future violations by Uber drivers.

A date has yet to be set for the case to be heard in Copenhagen's city court, the prosecutor said.

Uber that said its ride-hailing app will continue to be available in Denmark while the process is ongoing. ($1 = 6.9748 Danish crowns)

(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by David Goodman)

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