French war on ‘illegal’ Uber escalates as execs arrested
US ride-hailing app firm remains target of government, as it tries to ban service
Two Uber executives are to go on trial in France as part of a government campaign against the US ride-hailing app firm, Reuters reported.
The San Francisco-based start-up is considered illegal by French authorities. In March, the company's Paris offices were raided as part of an investigation into UberPOP, an app variant that connects unlicensed drivers with passengers. That investigating led to yesterday's arrest of Thibaud Simphal, manager of Uber France, and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, general manager for western Europe.
The government argues that a French law introduced in October 2014 already prohibits apps such as UberPOP, but Uber contends that the regulation is invalid since it stymies the right to do business.
The detained Uber executives will reportedly face charges that include engaging in deceitful commercial practices and being complicit in illegal operation of a taxi service through the act of making the UberPOP app available and encouraging its use. Other charges include contravention of France's strict data privacy laws.
Uber has been a target of licensed public transport drivers and their advocates in a number of countries around the world. In Paris last week, singer Courtney Love became embroiled in a raucous protest by cab drivers against the app service, when her Uber driver was "held hostage". Love escaped the scene by paying a motorcyclist to spirit her away.