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UPDATE 1-French court delays case against two Uber executives
September 30, 2015 / 3:23 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-French court delays case against two Uber executives

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PARIS, Sept 30 (Reuters) - A French court has delayed until mid-February a criminal case against two executives from Uber Technologies in which they stand accused of operating an illegal transportation service using non-professional drivers.

Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, head of Western Europe for Uber, and Thibaud Simphal, head of France, face six charges including deceptive commercial practices, complicity in operating an illegal transportation service, and data protection violations including keeping location data on customers for too long.

Judge Cecile Louis-Loyant said more time was needed to provide documents and computer files requested by Uber lawyers.

Uber declined to comment on Wednesday on the court proceeding.

The case before the Paris Criminal Court is the first time that executives from the world's most valuable venture-backed startup have gone on trial, although the company itself has become embroiled in many legal battles as it has expanded to 60 countries since its founding in 2009.

The two executives face fines of up to 300,000 euros ($335,100) and up to five years in prison if convicted. Uber itself also faces fines of up to 1.5 million euros.

In Europe, the Uber POP service, which relies on non-professional drivers in their own cars, has attracted ire from taxi companies and governments who see it as flouting local transportation rules.

The incidents prompted Uber to suspend the POP service in France. It was a turnaround from the company's previously combative position that had until then seen it keep the service running even after France passed a law banning it and similar ride sharing services late last year.

Uber POP has been declared illegal by courts in Italy, Spain, and Germany, while appeals are pending in Belgium and the Netherlands. Last week in France the highest constitutional court dismissed a challenge brought by Uber to the law restricting Uber POP.

In Europe, the problems faced by Uber POP have led the company to shift its focus more to its service staffed by professional drivers in black sedans. (Reporting by Leila Abboud and Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Mark Potter)

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