Uber slapped with fine by French courts over illegal service

Lynsey Barber
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UberPop caused violent protests in France last year (Source: Getty)

Uber has been slapped with a fine by French authorities over its UberPop service, which the country's government deems illegal.

The court in Paris fined the billion dollar startup €800,000 (£626,000), only half of which is payable, but avoided a payment of as much as €1.5m

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Two Uber France executives who were questioned last year over the service have also been fined for running an illegal business and deceptive commercial practice.

Thibault Simphal and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, general managers for France and Western Europe respectively, will pay smaller amounts - €20,000 and €30,000 each, half of which was also suspended. They avoided a potential sentence of up to five years in prison

UberPop lets anyone become an Uber driver with their car and is unlicensed.

An Uber France spokesperson told local media it was disappointed by the decision.

"The European Commission has just published guidelines that support such services. Heetch, similar to uberPOP, faces almost identical charges. The judgement does not impact our service in France today - which now connects more than 12,000 professional drivers with 1.5m passengers - but we will appeal”.

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The UberPop service last year sparked national protests which turned violent and it was eventually pulled last year.

Several regulators across Europe have come down on Uber over its business and operating practices.

On the same day, a German court ruled that a ban on UberPop should be upheld. Uber had appealed an earlier decision by a lower court, but a higher regional court today upheld the original decision.

This particular service has been banned in Italy, Spain and Germany, while appeals are pending in Belgium and the Netherlands.

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