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Uber, 2 executives fined over UberPop service

[PARIS] Uber Technologies Inc and two executives were fined by a French criminal court over claims the company's UberPop ride-sharing service broke the law before it was suspended.

The court fined the company and executives a total of US$961,434, half of which was suspended, at a hearing in Paris on Thursday. French prosecutors had attacked Uber over fraudulent commercial practices, encouraging illegal activity and improper use of personal data.  Uber has faced regulatory challenges from its hometown in San Francisco to Munich, Stockholm and Mumbai. In France, regulators have focused their attention on the UberPop service, suspended since July in the country. UberPop allows anyone with a vehicle and driver's license to offer a taxi service, in contrast with Uber's main chauffeured-car service that requires registration with authorities.

The head of Uber's French operations, Thibaud Simphal, was fined US$22,621 while Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, the company's general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, was fined another US$33,932. After raising US$3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund this month, Uber is pursuing its international expansion, dueling with powerful local rivals -like Didi Chuxing in China- as well as seeking to appease regulators. Founder Travis Kalanick met with European lawmakers last month to discuss Uber's role in helping cities fix problems like traffic, parking, and having too many cars on the roads.