Two Uber France executives have been taken into police custody in Paris, French media outlets reported today, as part of an ongoing investigation into the company's low-cost UberPop service. As Le Monde reports, Uber Europe CEO Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty and Uber France CEO Thibaud Simphal were both taken into custody Thursday by Paris' judiciary police. French business news channel BFMTV reports that the executives are suspected of "inciting undeclared work."
The interrogations come on the heels of a nationwide strike staged by French taxi unions in protest against UberPop, which connects users with non-professional drivers. Taxi unions allege that the service gives Uber an unfair competitive advantage, because UberPop drivers are not held to the same regulatory requirements. French government officials have said that UberPop is illegal under a law passed late last year that requires all drivers to hold insurance and professional licenses. UberPop drivers are currently not required to hold either, but the service has been allowed to continue after a Paris appeals court declined to rule on its legality in March. A constitutional court is expected to issue a decision on UberPop's legality in September.
Arrests made as part of ongoing probe
Today's interrogations are not explicitly connected to last week's protests, though French officials have toughened their stance following the strike. France's interior minister has called on Paris police to enforce a ban on the service, threatening to arrest drivers and seize cars. Earlier today, the ministry announced that 200 police had been deployed across Paris to patrol the streets for UberPop drivers. In March, French police raided Uber's Paris offices as part of the investigation, in an act that Uber at the time described as a "disproportionate action."
"Two representatives of Uber today went voluntarily to a police hearing that is part of a on-going legal proceeding," an Uber spokesperson said in an email statement to The Verge. "Uber is always willing to work with authorities to overcome possible misunderstandings."