French police haul in Uber honchos after cabbie strike | News | DW | 29.06.2015
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French police haul in Uber honchos after cabbie strike

Two French Uber bosses have been taken into custody as part of a probe into their ride-booking app, which has sparked protests by taxi drivers. Officials had opened an investigation into Uber in 2014.

On Monday, French police arrested two bosses of the ride-booking service Uber. The application puts paying clients in contact with cheaper private drivers who do not face the same regulations as cabbies.

Without naming the two Uber managers, Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, the spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor, said police had taken them into custody for questioning over "illicit activity" linked to the company's lowest-cost service, UberPop.

The company has upset workers and consumers in the United States, China and several other countries. Licensed cabbies in France, for example, say the service endangers their jobs by flooding the market with unregulated low-cost drivers, who do not pay the same level of social charges, undergo the mandatory 250 hours of training or require the same insurance as taxis. In France last week, striking taxi drivers set fire to vehicles and blocked highways, disrupting traffic and the vacations of thousands of tourists, the American musician and actress Courtney Love among them.

Above the law

The company, which offers several types of ride-sharing services, has long sparred with the government over UberPop. France made the service illegal in January, but the law has proved difficult to enforce and the service continues to operate.

Uber announced that it would keep operating the service until a ruling by France's top court. After last week's protests, however, France's government pledged to shut the app down.

Based in San Francisco, California, the company claims to have 400,000 UberPoP users in France.

mkg/msh (AFP, AP)

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