It appears that Uber executives are in trouble because France can bring criminal charges against them for operating an illegal taxi service, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled.
The decision has come from events in 2015, when France’s government banned UberPop and added that if Uber managers informed drivers to ignore the ban, they would be committing “a criminal offense.” Uber execs appeared to have defied the ruling. Then a raid took place at Uber’s Paris office which resulted in the arrest of Uber France CEO Thibaut Simphal and Uber European GM Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty.
According to EU law, legislation fro member states that affects digital services have to be pre-approved by the European Commission. This was used to form the basis of Uber’s appeal because it argued that the taxi laws banning UberPop weren’t vetted by the EU. The company reasoned that since the legislation was illegal to begin with, the charges against the managers should be dropped.
Now, the European Commission recently dealt a huge blow to Uber’s argument by ruling that it’s a transportation, not a digital service company. Basically, this means that France’s laws were about rides, not apps, and paves the way for criminal charges to be brought against Uber execs.
Member states may prohibit and punish, as a matter of criminal law, the illegal exercise of transport activities in the context of the UberPOP service, without notifying the Commission in advance of the draft legislation.
“Member states may prohibit and punish, as a matter of criminal law, the illegal exercise of transport activities in the context of the UberPOP service, without notifying the Commission in advance of the draft legislation,” the court said in a statement.