How ICL Tried to Hide Nir Gilad's Bonus

What was Israel Chemicals' legal advisor Lisa Haimovitz doing last Friday morning at 9:10 A.M.? Drinking cappuccino at a seaside cafe? Enjoying a mushroom omelet at a neighborhood bistro? Choosing a book to read on Shabbat? Washing her car on the way to the mall? Dropping off clothes at the dry cleaners? None of the above.

At that very hour, when most of Israel's happy investors (after all, 2009 was a good year for their investment portfolios, and 2010 seems to be headed in the same direction) were busy making plans for one of the most relaxing weekends in decades, and their financial attentiveness was negligible - that was precisely when Haimovitz punched a time clock at the office.

Haimovitz drove to the Millennium Tower in Tel Aviv, parked in the underground lot beneath the building, rode the elevator to the dimly lit offices of Israel Chemicals and launched the computer program for sending announcements to the stock exchange.

Haimovitz, who was the senior legal advisor to former Israel Securities Authority Chairman Moshe Tery, went to her office last Friday morning just to send two notices to the bourse. The information, which covered 33 pages, detailed the distribution of ICL's periodic bonuses.

This time the bonuses for company executives were valued at NIS 204 million, including NIS 20 million in options for CEO Akiva Moses and NIS 15 million for board chairman Nir Gilad.

It is a bit outrageous that Gilad - the CEO of ICL's controlling shareholder, the Israel Corporation, and a senior partner to the disastrous strategic error at Israel Corp. subsidiary Zim Integrated Shipping Systems - should be padding his personal bank account so fast.

Zim's insolvency and debt arrangement - the second largest in Israel's history - was signed by Gilad, and was necessary partly due to massive insider transactions signed between Zim and controlling shareholders the Ofer brothers (from whom Zim purchased ships costing billions of shekels). Those transactions were approved by Gilad and Zim's board.

A little less greed and a little more patience is expected from those who caused heavy losses to pensioners after borrowing heavily from them, via the bonds purchased by the institutional investors managing the pension funds.