HELSINKI (Reuters) – Helsinki district court on Wednesday ordered the assets of Uber’s Finnish country manager be confiscated until police conclude an investigation into whether the U.S. ride-hailing firm operates an illegal taxi service in Finland.
The court turned down a police request to confiscate Uber Finland’s assets, but ordered up to 246,000 euros ($279,357) of its country manager Joel Jarvinen’s personal assets be frozen.
The court must revoke the order if charges are not filed within fourth months.
“We will continue to cooperate with the authorities to help with the investigation, but consider the district court’s decision regrettable and we are going to appeal it,” Uber Finland said in a statement.
Uber Technologies Inc, which has faced bans and protests from established taxi operators around the world, is legal in Finland provided its drivers hold valid taxi licenses.
But the length of time it takes to get a permit has led some drivers to work without one, leading to a debate within Finland about whether the system should be reformed.
The company has been the target of previous police investigations in Finland and drivers have been ordered to give up their earnings to the state for not having valid taxi permits.
According to Uber, more than 100,000 Finns have downloaded its mobile app, and thousands use the service every week.
($1 = 0.8806 euros)
(Reporting by Tuomas Forsell; editing by Susan Thomas)