Enrique González Macho, acquitted in the first of his trials for the ‘blockbuster’ | Culture
The Criminal Court number 20 of Madrid has acquitted the producer, exhibitor and distributor Enrique González Macho from the crimes of subsidy fraud and documentary falsehood of which he was accused of allegedly manipulating the number of viewers of the film The inner island to get help. In that sentence, the Court also acquits Juan Romero Iglesias, who was the sole administrator of Mecanismo Films S.L., who participated with a 51% share in the production of the film.
The Prosecutor's Office requested for each of them two years in prison and one million euros of fine, but according to the judge it has not been proven that the declared collections did not correspond to those obtained by the exhibition of the film or that the accused reached a previous concert to alter the data, the basis of what became known as box office fraud. The judge declares proven that Juan Romero signed on July 16, 2009 a contract for the distribution of the film with Alta Classics S.L.U., owned by Alta Films S.A., both managed by Enrique González Macho, former president of the Film Academy. The resolution adds that Alta Films S.A. He also participated in other merchant owners of showrooms, so Enrique González Macho held in 2010 the position of CEO of the Multicines Cuenca, Multicines Majadahonda, Renoir Price, Renoir Zaragoza, Roxy B and Lido.
In these rooms, as in many others, the film was shown The minimum island, premiered on November 28, 2009 in a single exhibition at the Multicines Cuenca -probably, to qualify for the Goya- and commercially repeated on April 9, 2010, being on the bill for several months, he says. He reports that "Juan Romero requested on February 14, 2011 general and complementary assistance for the amortization of feature films convened by the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (ICAA), providing certification from the Deputy Director General for the Promotion of the ICAA Film and Audiovisual Industry ". In the same one it was collected that the film had obtained during the first twelve months of commercial exhibition in Spain a gross collection of 335,576 euros.
By resolution of the ICAA of June 3, 2011, Mechanism Films was granted a general aid of 25,671 euros and a complementary one of 266,655, and also grants were granted to the rest of co-producers in proportion to their participation percentages in the making of the film. The judge explains that the certificate issued by the ICAA on collection was based on the data provided by the cinematic exhibition halls through the corresponding parts of the declaration that were sent in an encrypted file, provided by a computer application made available by a company approved by the administrative body.
But for the judge, and hence the acquittal, it has not been proven that the collections declared by the ICAA did not correspond to those obtained by the exhibition of the film, "presuming that they were also those declared to the General Society of Authors and Publishers and the Treasury ". The judge emphasizes that the case shows a "lack of ICAA control systems at least in 2010 and 2011, to the extent that it does not have its own data but is provided by third parties." In addition, it indicates that the company that managed the mailbox "lacks information on the data obtained in relation to the gross collection of the film Inland Island after more than five years have elapsed. "He emphasizes that with that information it could be verified whether or not there was an error or alteration by the ICAA staff that issued the collection certificates.
The ruling clarifies that, although the lack of justification of the activity is sufficient to determine the return of the subsidy, as agreed in an administrative way, "it is not to substantiate a criminal conviction for fraud, which requires the accreditation that the activity really has not been carried out. "
The one who was president of the Film Academy between April 2011 and February 2015 - when he resigned for personal reasons - has expressed his relief for this sentence that, however, does not reassure him at all because it is still appealable and not firm. "It is not the same to say that I am acquitted," said González Macho, who has three other pending trials.
"I've been without contact with anyone absolutely in the world of cinema for three and a half years. All this has been and is being very hard for me, it's the hardest three and a half years of my life," said the producer in a telephone conversation with Efe from France, where he spends Christmas with his wife's family. "I have been tried twice in these three and a half years, the first time on November 20 and the second on November 24 and 25, with a different judge and courts; of that second trial I still have no sentence," said González Macho .
For the producer, exhibitor and film distributor, the sentence is "very important" because the rest of the cases that are pending "are the same, you could make a copy with a copy." "Only I know what it is to be indicted for something that I am totally innocent of. It's horrifying, what I've been through I know is nothing more."