Two Uber executives were taken into custody in Paris on Monday as part of a government probe into the ride-hailing service, according to Agence France-Presse. Although reportedly unrelated, the incident took place after violent taxi protests against Uber and similar services in the country's capital last week.
Thibaud Simphal, general manager for Uber France, and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, general manager for Uber Western Europe, were taken into custody during a hearing with French police, according to an Uber spokesman.
"We are always happy to answer questions the authorities have about our service -- and look forward to resolving these issues," the spokesman said in an email statement. "Those discussions are ongoing."
On Tuesday, one day after Simphal and Gore-Coty were taken into custody, the Paris prosecutor's office announced that Uber France and the two executives have been ordered to go to trial on September 30 on charges of "misleading commercial practices" and "complicity in the illegal exercise of the taxi profession," according to the Financial Times.
France isn't the only European country Uber has battled as it attempts to expand its ride-hailing service, which pairs passengers with drivers via a smartphone app. In countries, including the UK, Belgium, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, the company has set up shop before asking local governments for permission to operate. That aggressive strategy has helped Uber grow from a small San Francisco startup in 2009 to a multinational service in 57 countries. But it's also infuriated authorities with this approach.
Uber has regularly tussled with French authorities over the last year. The country's National Assembly cars for hire -- in effect crippling Uber's service -- and in March, Uber's Paris office was raided by police. In April, Uber began to fight back and with the European Union claiming the country was violating EU law with its crackdown on the ride-hailing service.in September that banned transportation companies' use of GPS systems that alert users of nearby
Tension has continued to grow. Just last week, French taxi driversin the country's capital and roughly 3,000 taxi drivers reportedly blocked access to Paris' biggest airports. During the fracas, 10 people were arrested, seven police officers were injured and 70 cars were damaged, according to AFP.
Some French authorities and the cabbies say that Uber is operating an illegal taxi business and isn't adhering to the same rules and regulations as cabs, which means unfair competition. Uber says it's not a transportation or taxi service, but rather a technology business since it operates a smartphone platform instead of managing a fleet of drivers.
Update, June 30 at 10:25 a.m. PT: With information about Uber, Thibaud Simphal and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty being ordered to stand trial in September.