Former Africa-Israel USA CEO sues company

Marin claims he was fired because he exposed “serious cases of deals that were done for personal interest, and conflicts of interest.”

By MIRA AWWAD
May 8, 2011 22:54
2 minute read.
Former Africa-Israel USA CEO sues company

africa israel 248.88. (photo credit: Courtesy of Africa Israel Residences)

Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. and its US real estate development arm AFI USA Inc. are being sued by Richard Marin, the former CEO of the US subsidiary.

Marin claims he was fired because he exposed “serious cases of deals that were done for personal interest, and conflicts of interest.”

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Marin, who was appointed CEO of AFI USA in 2009, is demanding a bonus of $1.25 million that was promised him for 2010, as well as incentive payments and compensation for being fired in December 2010.

Marin filed suit in the New York State Supreme Court on Thursday claiming that, “This is a case of a company firing an executive in order to cover up wrongdoing that the executive discovered and reported.” In response, AFI USA’s lawyer said that Marin was fired following disagreements with management in Israel regarding strategy, and accused him of delays in repaying a loan he took from the company as an advance against his bonus.

In the suit, Marin claims among other things that Africa-Israel had been managing a building at 23 Wall Street for the Hong Kong-based holding company China Sonangol that had purchased the asset from Africa-Israel in 2008.

The lawsuit states that the management contract was transferred by executives in Israel to two companies – one run by a former Africa Israel employee, and the other founded by Africa-Israel Chairman Lev Leviev.

Marin also charges that Sonangol owes Africa- Israel $700,000, and that senior management forbade him to claim the repayment because the Hong Kong company has connections with Leviev’s companies not related to real estate.

A spokesman for Africa- Israel said that the company had not yet looked at the lawsuit and that a detailed account would be given to the court only after the charges were studied. However, the company stressed that, “The groundless claims raised by Marin are not new to us. He has been raising them for several months and we have rejected them each time.

These complaints and demands have no basis.

The only reason they are being raised is an attempt by Marin to get out of repaying a debt in which he is in dispute with us, and which he owes our subsidiary AFI USA.”


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