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Cineworld and its CEO, Mooky Greidinger, have been found guilty by an Israeli court of infringing merger conditions dating back to 2010 over the supply of films to a movie theater in Tel Aviv. A suit brought by the local competition authority argued that Cineworld’s local distributor, Forum Film, did not provide eight movies over a ten-year period to the Tel Aviv-based Lev Cinema. The court found in favor of the plaintiffs this week with a fine to be set in October.
Cineworld said it would not comment before the final October fine decision.
Deadline understands that the issue stems from the 2010 merger of Cineworld’s local distribution company Forum Film and another Israeli outfit, Matalon. Both had deals in place with the major Hollywood studios. Because of the scale of the companies, the competition authority placed conditions on the deal. One of those was to supply all wide-release titles to cinemas in Israel that requested them. Some 600 movies have since been released via the companies.
The Lev Cinema in Tel Aviv claimed that it was not provided with eight movies over the course of the intervening 10 years, and a court case ensued — which ultimately was shifted to criminal charges instead of a typical litigation settlement.
This week, the court approved a plea bargain, and convicted Forum Film of not supplying the eight movies; in addition, the court convicted Greidinger for not supervising the company in a way that would have prevented the lack of supply. At the same time, two managers from Forum Film were deleted from the case.
The court will decide on the fine in October.