The former Turkey chief of global ridesharing company Uber has been indicted for unfair competition, punishable by up to two years in prison, Turkish media reported on Tuesday.
Uber Turkey’s former chief executive Francois Pascal Chadwick was listed as the suspect and SS Yeni Nesil Taksiciler Taşıma ve İşletme Kooperatifi (Limited Liability Yeni Nesil Taxi Transportation and Operation Cooperative) as the complainant in the indictment prepared by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
According to the indictment, Uber Turkey Yazılım ve Teknoloji Hizmetleri Limited Şirketi (Uber Turkey Software and Technology Services Limited Liability Company) engaged in unfair competition with its taxi and scheduled passenger transportation services in İstanbul.
Chadwick, who was living in the US as of the date of the crime and never came to Turkey, was named as the executive of Uber Turkey, while Barış İ. was listed as the director of its Zorlu branch.
Sending his defense via a notary public in the US regarding the complaint, Chadwick denied the accusations.
“Uber Turkey has engaged in unfair competition by using its legally obtained D2 Authorization Certificate beyond its aims and scope in scheduled transportation,” the indictment said, referring to an expert opinion prepared on March 12, 2020.
A D2 Authorization Certificate, issued by Turkey’s Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry, allows companies to engage in commercial non-scheduled passenger transportation.
The indictment said Uber Turkey’s activities had previously been halted on charges of unfair competition by the İstanbul 10th Commercial Court of First Instance.
Conciliation, a legal remedy described in Article 253 of the Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK), could not be invoked in this case because Chadwick was living abroad, the indictment said.
The indictment noted that the investigation file on Barış İ. was separated and sent to the conciliation bureau.
The crime of unfair competition is punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years under Article 62/1 of the Turkish Commercial Code.
In 2019 the İstanbul 10th Commercial Court of First Instance had ruled for the prohibition of online access to Uber’s website and smartphone applications for engaging in unfair competition after a lawsuit was filed by an İstanbul taxi drivers association.
In December 2020 an appeals court lifted the access ban, making it possible for the company to resume its operations in Turkey.
Uber Turkey said in a statement that Uber’s service would continue with the yellow taxis of İstanbul through the UberTaxi application.
In January Turkey officially lifted an access ban on Uber’s mobile app.
“The access ban on Uber Turkey has been officially removed today in line with the court decision. Hello to İstanbul residents again,” Uber Turkey tweeted.
There are around 17,400 official yellow taxis operating in Turkey’s most populous city of İstanbul.
Uber is used by 19 million people daily in more than 700 cities in 66 countries and has been operating since 2010.