Two Uber Executives in France were arrested and ordered to stand trial on charges of “deceptive commercial practices” and complicity in illegal activities that were linked to the Uber services offered in France.
On Monday, police swept the Uber France headquarters and arrested Thibault Simplhal, Uber’s general manager for France, and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber’s general manager for Western Europe. According to CBS, French authorities said that the low-cost UberPop services are illegal. UberPop is the same as UberX in the United States, which connects riders with private car owners. They are mad because Uber does not pay the same taxes and social charges that traditional taxis are ordered to pay.
Last week, a protest was held by taxi drivers claiming unfair competition. The protest turned violent when protestors began smashing cars, setting tires on fire, and blocking traffic during the strike. Tourists and celebrities were caught in the attack against Uber, and some tourists were forced to walk alongside the highway with their bags in hand. Taxi drivers say that France is creating rules that they have to follow by, but anyone can become an Uber driver without any type of professional license.
Courtney Love was in an Uber car that was targeted and later tweeted the following.
According to VentureBeat, a year ago, the UberPop service was banned by a law that was passed in October, but Uber continued to offer the service and won a temporary reprieve in a Paris court. France’s interior minister publicly called for a nationwide ban on UberPop in order to make taxi drivers happy, but authorities aren’t stopping the service and instead hold the Uber drivers personally responsible.
Uber’s spokeperson told TechCrunch the following in a statement.
“Our CEO for France and General Manager for Western Europe were invited to a police hearing this afternoon; following this interview, they were taken into custody. We are always avaliable to answer all the questions on our service, and available to the authorities to solve any problem that could come up. Talks are in progress. In the meantime, we keep working in order to make sure that both our customers and drivers are safe following last week’s turmoils.”
The two Uber executives have now been released from custody and have a scheduled hearing for September 30.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images]