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Uber fined in France over UberPop

The French version of the Uber app to order a UberPop cab in Paris Image copyright AFP/Getty Images

A court in France has fined the app-based taxi firm, Uber for running an illegal transport service that used non-professional drivers.

The case centred on the UberPop service, which connected users with non-professional drivers using their own cars.

The Paris criminal court ordered the American company to pay €800,000 (£625,536), half of it suspended.

Fines were also handed out to two of the firm's senior executives.

Legal battles

The French Parliament voted to outlaw UberPop and other similar services in 2014.

It followed pressure from licensed taxi drivers that accused UberPop of unfair competition because it used non-professional drivers.

At the beginning of 2015 UberPop drivers, without a professional licence to pick up paying passengers, could be fined under fast track procedures in France.

UberPop suspended its service in France in July 2015.

UberPop has been declared illegal by courts in Italy, Spain and Germany, while appeals are pending in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Uber has been involved in many legal battles since it was founded in 2009, and expanded worldwide.

Shifting focus

It is the first time executives from Uber have gone on trial.

Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber's director for Europe, Middle East and Africa was fined €30,000 and Thibaud Simphal, the company's manager in France was fined €20,000, with both of them ordered to pay half.

They were found guilty of deceptive commercial practices and being accomplices in operating an illegal transport service.

Lawyers for Uber said they would appeal.

In a statement it said "We stopped UberPop last summer and we are disappointed by this judgment. The European Commission has just published guidelines that support such services.

"Heetch, similar to UberPop, faces almost identical charges. 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."

The company's problems in Europe have led it to shift its focus to a service staffed by professional drivers.

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