The business model of the ride-sharing firm Uber is a controversial subject in many countries, and the idea of just anybody hopping in their car and picking up passengers has a few doubters even in the ultra-capitalist bastion of the United States. In France, however, Uber was in big trouble almost from the beginning, with significant opposition from the local transportation industry as well as the government.
In fact, the ride-sharing service and it’s French legal clone UberPop have been banned in France, and two Uber execs were called to stand trial on charges of deceptive commercial practices relating to the operations of the business.
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Uber wins delay in trial of executives in France
Uber Technologies Inc. received a delay of a criminal trial against two executives of the firm in France on Wednesday, an at least temporary victory for the firm in perhaps its most high-stakes legal battle world-wide.
The judge in a Paris court ordered the trial of two Uber execs to be delayed until February 11 and 12 of next year, acceding to a plea by Uber’s lawyers for access to evidence collected by police and prosecutors in raids of the company’s Paris offices.
The Uber legal team had argued in legal filings earlier this month that the trial should be delayed for several procedural reasons, including a lack of access to electronic evidence collected by law enforcement during raids.
After the judge granted the delay, there was notable jubilation among the Uber team.
“Justice must follow its course.” noted Mark MacGann, head of policy for Uber in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, when asked by the media for a comment.
More on the trial of Uber execs
The two senior managers on trial, Uber France chief Thibaud Simphal and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, general manager for Western Europe, could receive five-year and fines as high as 300,000 euros if they are found guilty of deceptive commercial practices and other charges. A few hours after the trial began, Judge Cecile Louis-Loyant announced a five-month delay was required so prosecutors could provide documents and computer files requested by Uber legal representatives.
France recently passed a new taxi law that explicitly forbade ride-sharing services, and the law was upheld against a challenge from Uber last week by the highest constitutional court. Uber execs admitted the court’s decision left them surprised and disappointed.