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Uber is beginning its court case to remain on the streets of London, arguing that the ride-hailing app has made significant changes since a regulator refused to renew the company's operating license last year.

Lawyers for the company are opening their case Monday at Westminster Magistrates Court in an effort to overturn Transport for London's ruling last September that Uber was not a "fit and proper" company after repeated lapses in corporate responsibility.

The regulator raised a number of concerns about Uber, including driver vetting, the way it reports serious criminal offences and the use of technology that allegedly helps the company evade law enforcement officials.

Uber has been allowed to continue operating pending appeal.



Russian billionaire and Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich has appeared in a Swiss court as part of a 19-year-old legal case aimed to wrest 46 million Swiss francs ($46 million) in debts allegedly owed by him and others to a European bank.

Abramovich was in Fribourg court as part of a lawsuit brought by the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development against Abramovich, Russian oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler, and the Russian energy company Gazprom Neft, a bank spokesman said Wednesday.

The suit aims to recover alleged debts left behind by Abramovich's now-defunct Runicom trading firm, which was based in Switzerland until its bankruptcy in 2003.

The initial amount sought by EBRD was $17.5 million, but the claim has grown to $46 million to include interest and costs.



Ford Motor Co.'s Australian subsidiary has been fined 10 million Australian dollars ($7.6 million) for mishandling customer complaints about faulty automatic transmissions in thousands of cars.

The fine in the Federal Court on Thursday equals the largest penalty ever for a breach of Australian Consumer Law, matching that imposed on the Coles supermarket chain in 2014 for misconduct toward suppliers.

The Federal Court ordered the A$10 million penalty for "unconscionable conduct" after the consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, took action against Ford Australia for mishandling customer complaints made between May 2015 and February 2016 over cars that shuddered, jerked or lost power because of faulty transmissions.

The case involved about 10,500 customer complaints over Ford Focus, Fiesta and EcoSport models made from 2011 to 2015 in the United States, India, Germany and Thailand and fitted with DPS6 PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmissions.

The PowerShift has also been the target of consumer legal action in the United States and Canada. The commission told The AP in a statement that Ford's headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, was aware of "quality issues" with the PowerShift. Ford's head office issued technical services bulletins about those problems that Ford Australia could have accessed, the statement said.


A court on Saturday granted bail to Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, who will be allowed to remain free while he appeals his conviction on charges of poaching rare deer in a wildlife preserve two decades ago.

Khan was convicted Thursday and sentenced to five years in prison and was immediately sent to jail. On Saturday, Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi ordered him to sign a surety bond of 50,000 rupees ($770) before he could be set free from the jail in Jodhpur, a town in western India.

After he was released, he was driven straight to the airport to fly to his home in Mumbai, India's entertainment capital.

Hundreds of Khan's overjoyed fans danced outside the courtroom and chanted "We love you, Salman." His sisters, Alvira and Arpita, were present during the hearing.

Carrying big garlanded posters of Khan, they also set off firecrackers and sang songs from his Bollywood movies as some of them chased his car heading to the airport.

The scenes were more intense outside his Mumbai residence. Thousands of fans waited for hours and lit up the sky with fireworks as Khan reached his home.

Flanked by his father and other relatives, he came to the balcony of his apartment with folded hands and waved, thanking them for their support. He retreated after signalling his fans to go home.

Four other Bollywood stars accused in the case - Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam - were acquitted Thursday by Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri. They were in the vehicle that Salman Khan was believed to be driving during the hunt in 1998. Tabu and Neelam both use just one name.

Khan says he did not shoot the two blackbuck deer. The heavily muscled actor was acquitted in two related cases.

His attorney Mahesh Bora has challenged the conviction and sentence, and Khan will remain free pending the outcome of the appeal.


German officials say there's been a sharp drop in sales of new diesel cars, following a court decision that allows cities to ban the use of heavily polluting vehicles.

Figures released Wednesday by the Federal Motor Transport Authority show new registrations of diesel-powered cars dropped by 25.4 percent in March to under 109,000, compared with about 146,000 during the same month a year earlier.

Germany's top administrative court ruled Feb. 27 that cities can ban diesel cars and trucks to combat air pollution. The decision is a further blow to diesel fuel technology after the revelations that German automaker Volkswagen cheated on U.S. emissions tests.

The value of diesel vehicles in Germany already had fallen significantly, and their market share has fallen since the VW scandal broke in 2015.


Bolivia made an emotional appeal Monday for the International Court of Justice to order Chile to enter talks over granting the landlocked South American nation access to the Pacific Ocean, saying the dispute will remain a source of conflict if it's not resolved.

Bolivia lost its only seacoast to Chile in a war between from 1879 to 1883, and has been demanding access to the Pacific for generations. Bolivia also accuses Chile of reneging on pledges to negotiate.

"For 139 years, Bolivia has suffered the historical injustice of becoming landlocked," former Bolivian President Eduardo Rodriguez Veltze told judges sitting in the ornate Great Hall of Justice at the world court's headquarters, the Peace Palace. "Restoring Bolivia's sovereign access to the sea would make a small difference to Chile, but it would transform the destiny of Bolivia."

Chile argues that its border with Bolivia was settled in a 1904 treaty and that it's not under any legal obligation to negotiate. Chile's lawyers will present their case later this week.

Prof. Payam Akhavan, a lawyer representing Bolivia, said that despite the treaty, Chile had made repeated pledges to find a solution to the dispute.

"If the 1904 treaty settled all issues for all times, if there was no remaining dispute, why did the parties continue to negotiate sovereign access for more than a century?" he said.

"This case is not an academic exercise. It is not mere political posturing," Akhavan told judges. "The people have suffered real and continuing injury. Chile cannot sweep this dispute under the carpet. It will remain a constant source of conflict until it is resolved."

Rodriguez said that Bolivia's lack of direct access to the sea is holding back its economy.

"It is estimated that if Bolivia had not been stripped of the sea, the annual GDP (gross domestic product) growth could be at least 20 percent higher," he told judges.

Rulings by the court, the United Nations' highest judicial organ, are final and binding. Judges will likely take months to issue a decision.


A confidante accused of collaborating with South Korea's former president for personal gain was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for bribery and other crimes in a political scandal that triggered the country's first presidential impeachment and the conviction of an heir to the Samsung empire.

The Seoul Central District Court also sentenced the chairman of the Lotte Group, South Korea's fifth-largest conglomerate, to 2 ½ years in prison for bribery in the same case.

Former President Park Geun-hye was impeached last March and removed from office in disgrace. She is standing trial on more than a dozen criminal charges, and the case against her close friend could hint at the penalty Park could face if convicted.

The court convicted Choi Soon-sil of abuse of power, bribery and other crimes and fined her 18 billion won ($17 million). Choi left the courtroom quietly after the sentencing without showing any emotion.

Among her crimes was pressuring major companies to donate large sums to foundations under her control and receiving bribes from Samsung and Lotte.

The court said Choi's crimes were grave given how they led to the impeachment of a president and disappointed the public.

Choi's lawyer, Lee Kyung-jae, said she would appeal. At her final court hearing in December, Lee called the accusations a complete fabrication by politicians, civic groups, media and politically motivated prosecutors who wanted to overthrow Park's government, according to Yonhap News agency.

In the Lotte case, the court said Chairman Shin Dong-bin offered 7 billion won ($6.5 million) in payments to Choi's foundations to curry favors such as winning a state license to open a duty-free shop and to strengthen his control over the group. Lotte has interests in retail, confectionary and many other businesses.

The sentencing sent a shockwave through the South Korean business community, which had been relieved to see an appeals court release Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong from prison last week on a suspended sentence with some of his convictions overturned.

In a third case Tuesday, the court sentenced one of Park's former senior aides, Ahn Jong-beom, to six years in prison for abuse of power.

Choi was largely unknown to the South Korean public until a series of revelations in late 2016 disclosed how she allegedly pulled government strings from the shadows, editing presidential speeches and wielding influence over government personnel even though she held no official government position.

She also influenced the college admission process for her daughter, a national equestrian team member who was accepted by a top university in Seoul, enraging the public and helping to spark massive anti-government candlelight rallies. Choi received a three-year prison term last June in a separate case related to influence-peddling in university admissions.

Her case brought the debate about ties between politics and business in South Korea to the fore, as several top business leaders were implicated in the scandal. Her daughter's equestrian training overseas was scrutinized and questions were raised about whether Samsung's purchase of expensive horses for her daughter constituted bribery.

The appeals court ruling that allowed Lee, Samsung's vice chairman, to be freed last week after nearly a year in jail said Lee was unable to reject Park's request to financially support Choi and was coerced into making the payments

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