Judge orders Uber to cease operations in Spain

By Inmaculada Sanz

By Inmaculada Sanz

MADRID (Reuters) - A Madrid judge has ordered U.S.-based online car booking company Uber to cease operations in Spain, the latest ban on the popular service.

The judge on Tuesday imposed an injunction on services after a request by the Madrid Taxi Association, which is preparing a legal case against Uber accusing it of unfair competition.

Taxi drivers around the world consider Uber unfairly bypasses local licensing and safety regulations by using the internet to put drivers in touch with passengers.

"The measure ... has been taken without hearing from the company Uber because of the damage being caused to taxi service operators and because Uber is a company domiciled in the U.S. fiscal paradise of Delaware," said the judge in his ruling.

In the same ruling, the judge ordered telecommunications and electronic payment companies to ban Uber transactions.

The decision came the same day as a court in India ordered state governments to halt the operations of all unregistered, web-based taxi companies after a woman said she was raped by a driver working for Uber.

Uber had been valued at about $40 billion ahead of a planned stock market flotation.

The company also faces legal action in several European countries including Germany and has regulatory problems which prevent it from operating in U.S. cities such as Las Vegas and Miami.

It said on Monday it would battle a ban on bookings by the Netherlands' Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal.

Uber began with a low-cost, limousine pick-up service called UberBlack and then introduced UberPop, a ride-sharing services that links private drivers with passengers, and its latest service UberTaxi, which uses regular taxi drivers to pick up rides.

(Writing by Sarah Morris; Editing by Tracy Rucinski and David Holmes)