Uber France and two company executives will go on trial in September, French prosecutors announced today, on charges related to its UberPop service. Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber's general manager for Western Europe, and Uber France CEO Thibaud Simphal were taken into police custody yesterday in Paris, a few days after French taxi unions staged a nationwide strike in protest against UberPop. As AFP reports, the executives and Uber France have been charged with misleading business practices, complicity in operating an illegal taxi service, and illegal treatment of personal data. They will go before a correctional court on September 30th.
French taxi drivers have long held grievances against UberPop, which connects passengers with non-professional drivers. Taxi unions argue that the service gives Uber an unfair competitive advantage, because UberPop drivers are not required to obtain professional licenses or insurance, as other chauffeurs are.
An ongoing investigation
French officials have said the service is illegal under a law passed late last year, which strengthens regulatory requirements for chauffeur services. Police raided Uber's Paris offices in March, as part of an ongoing investigation into UberPop. Uber has contested the law, and the service has been allowed to continue pending a ruling from France's constitutional court, but authorities have toughened their stance on UberPop following last week's taxi strike. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve last week called on police prefectures to enforce a ban on UberPop, adding that drivers risked having their cars impounded. More than 200 UberPop drivers have been fined, AFP reports, with one sentenced to 15 days in jail.
An Uber France spokesperson could not immediately provide comment on the charges levied today, confirming only that the executives have been released and that Uber representatives will meet with Cazeneuve's chief of staff tomorrow.