El Al in Talks to Get Back Money From ex-CEO

Airline's union boss threatens police complaint over bonuses to executives

El Al Israel Airlines is negotiating for its former CEO, Haim Romano, to return a million shekels to the company, it said last night. Less than a week ago the Israel Securities Authority wrote that mistakes in El Al's calculations had led it to overpay Romano by $4.7 million.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the El Al Israel Airlines workers' committee said he intends to file a criminal complaint against senior airline officials, including Romano, for accepting bonuses illegally.

Yossi Levy demanded Sunday that the company take back the the bonuses, following an Israel Securities Authority report on the issue.

"In my opinion this is theft, and going back and returning the money doesn't absolve [them] of the crime," Levy told TheMarker, adding that he received legal advice on the matter and that there's no time limit on when he can file a complaint with the police.

The ISA report identified the senior El Al officials who received bonuses illegally, some of whom still hold their positions in the company.

Among those listed were Vice President of IT Ofer Tsabary, who received NIS 70,000; former internal auditor Eli Erlich - NIS 80,000; VP of Human Resources Reuven Virovnik, VP of Marketing David Maimon, and former general counsel Amir Scharf, who received NIS 200,000 each; former VP of Maintenance Shmuel Fledel - NIS 270,000; CFO Nissim Malki and former VP of Commercial Affairs Yoav Levy - NIS 300,000 each; and former VP of Operations Lior Yavor - NIS 350,000.

According to Levy, his demands to the company management and his police complaint were both made in his capacity as chairman of El Al's workers' committee. Employees own 6.8% of the airline's stock.

"The company doesn't discuss matters concerning its staff with the media," El Al management said in response.