Tuesday, October 25, 2011 :Seven an unlucky number in Israel…
 
According to reports on Yahoo! Finance, William Hill plc has fired seven senior managers and several junior staff at its online betting joint-venture William Hill Online in Israel after discovering an alleged plan to set up a rival business.
 
Ralph Topping, the group's chief executive, has spent the past four days restoring order at the Tel Aviv office of William Hill Online (WHO), the venture 79 percent-owned by the UK bookmaker and 21 percent by Playtech plc.
 
Most of the 180 staff walked out last week in the wake of the resignation of chief marketing officer Eyal Sanoff, an associate of Playtech's 40 percent shareholder Teddy Sagi (see previous InfoPowa reports). Similar informal strikes took place in Bulgaria and the Philippines, according to media reports.
 
Yahoo claims that Topping became suspicious when the Tel Aviv office denied the bookie access to its computer systems. Topping ordered the hiring of former Israeli intelligence officers, also finding in the process that a rabbi, a fish feeder and a hairdresser were on the books as well as payments for table-tennis coaching.
 
Henry Birch, WHO's chief executive, and Jim Mullen, its chief operating officer, will be based in Tel Aviv for the next few months, whilst Topping, who returned to the UK for a board meeting on Tuesday, would only say: "I'm absolutely furious but cannot comment further."