Uber slapped with €800k fine by French court

Company says it will appeal the ruling in Paris, but will apparently not challenge a ban in Germany

Uber has said it will appeal an 800,000 (625,500) fine handed to it by a French court last week for running an illegal transportation service.

The penalty relates to UberPop, a service launched across Europe, but not in the UK, that allows drivers without a professional license to offer rides in exchange for money via the UberPop app.

The French court found that Uber had been complicit in running an illegal taxi service, UberPop, was guilty of misleading commercial practices and, above all, illegally organising a system of putting clients in contact with non-professional and served the San Franciscan company the fine. 

Thibaud Simphal, general manager for France at Uber, and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, regional general manager for Western Europe at the time he was charged and now Uber's head of operations for EMEA, were also fined 20,000 and 30,000 respectively for their involvement.

Uber and its executives only need to pay half of the fine now, with the other half suspended - i.e. they will only pay if they break the law again. Uber must also publish a legal statement to its site disclosing the ruling to the public.

An Uber spokesperson in France told IT Pro: "We stopped uberPOP last summer and we are still disappointed by this judgment. The European Commission has just published guidelines that support such services.

"The judgment does not impact our service in France today - which now connects more than 12,000 professional drivers with 1.5 million passengers - but we will appeal."

Uber has also suffered a setback in Germany this week, with a court in Frankfurt upholding an earlier ruling that UberPop is illegal in the country.

Sitting in the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court, judge Roland Vorbusch, threw out an appeal by Uber against the March ruling, but left the door open to further appeal. However, according to German news outlet Tagesshau the company has said it will now focus exclusively on its services for licensed chauffers and taxi drivers.

A spokesperson for Uber in Germany had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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