UPDATE, 2:40 p.m. EDT: An Uber spokesperson said in a statement: "Our general managers for France and Western Europe today attended a hearing with the French police. We are always happy to answer questions the authorities have about our service -- and look forward to resolving these issues. Those discussions are ongoing. In the meantime, we’re continuing to ensure the safety of our riders and drivers in France given last week's disturbances."
Police arrested the chief executive officer of Uber France and the general manager of Uber Europe Monday morning in Paris for running what authorities called an "illegal taxi company." The arrests, first reported by Agence France-Presse, were in connection with UberPOP, the Uber service which allows people to pick riders up in private cars. The arrests follow large-scale, violent protests that broke out in Paris last Thursday.
The two executives -- Uber France CEO Thibaud Simphal and Uber Europe General Manager Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty -- were taken into custody and charged for operating an illegal taxi company and concealing digital documents. In March 2015, police raided Uber’s office in Paris. International Business Times reached out to Uber for comment on what action the company will take in response to the arrests and is awaiting comment.
The arrests were not directly related to Thursday’s protests, where 70 cars were reported to be damaged, including those that were flipped and set on fire, according to TechCrunch. The San Francisco-based company has continuously battled French authorities as it works to maintain operations in Paris -- one of over 220 cities worldwide the ride-hailing service operates in -- despite being banned by the French government.
The ban in France was set to take into effect January 1, 2015. The French government issued another ban Thursday, following the violent protests. "UberPOP (the French Uber app) should be dismantled and declared illegal," France's President Francois Hollande said.
But Uber reportedly declined to comply with the order. “It’s a prefectural decree. We’re going to contest it and see what happens," Uber's Thibaud Simphal, one of the arrested executives, reportedly said on television Friday.
Currently, the company’s service is partially banned in the Netherlands, Germany and Brussels. A full ban has been enacted within certain cities in the United States, including Portland, Oregon, San Antonio, Texas, and Anchorage, Alaska, as revealed in data compiled by Business Insider.