Banks ordered to withhold payments collected for Uber


CNA

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Administrative Enforcement Agency (AEA) on Friday ordered 33 credit card-issuing banks in Taiwan to withhold payments collected on behalf of Uber, in a compulsory execution of back fines and taxes owed by the U.S-based ride-sharing service.

Any bank that opposes the order can file a dissent with the AEA’s Taipei office detailing their reasons, the agency said.

According to the agency, outstanding fines and taxes owed by Uber total NT$1.06 billion (US$34.86 million), after more than NT$10 million was seized from Uber bank accounts in March.

Because Uber’s services were paid for using credit cards, the agency decided to order banks to withhold the payments.

The government has imposed numerous fines on Uber for providing unlicensed taxi services in Taiwan, because it is registered in the country as an information services company.

Fines slapped on Uber increased sharply after an amendment to the Highway Act was passed in December 2016, which increased the maximum fine for operating illegal transportation services from NT$150,000 to NT$25 million.

Uber suspended its services in February amid media reports that the transportation ministry was about to order it to halt its operations in Taiwan.

However, in April Uber returned with a new business model that involves cooperating with car rental companies.

Transportation Minister Ho Chen Tan (賀陳旦) reiterated at that time that it would be illegal for Uber to operate as a transportation broker in Taiwan.