SHAMED Thomas Cook boss Peter Frankhauser has hit back at claiming he is a fat cat – despite trousering £ 8.3m from the collapsed travel firm.
The loaded CEO, 58, was condemned for raking in millions as the firm went bust – but said he would do "nothing" differently.
It comes as hundreds of employees turn to food banks while waiting for thousands in missing wages.
He told the Mail on Sunday: "I tried my best to save the company.
"How do I feel? Desperate. And deeply sorry. Grateful for the loyalty of millions of customers.
"And I feel deeply, deeply sorry that they have suffered this crisis. I can say more than that. I can only tell them I have tried everything for this company.
"What would I have done differently? Completely differently? Nothing."
Bosses face being hauled in front of MPs to explain why they took out £ 47million – including £ 29m in bonuses – as plummeted profits.
Yesterday more than 400 cabin crews gathered at Manchester Airport for a meeting with union officials – but were told they would not be paid on Monday.
Some staff even accused the firm of stealing their "children's futures."
Staff told how they were worried about paying mortgages and were forced to use charity food vouchers.
Others claim they rely on friends and family for financial help.
Cabin manager Mike Kilburn, 47, blasted: "It's sickening they were taking that amount out of the firm – in my mind they are crooks."
Unite's Mike Gaskell added: "We've seen movie star wages being taken out of business for what ultimately was a failure. People have a right to be angry."
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The closure left 21,000 staff without jobs and 150,000 customers stranded abroad.
More than 100 former employees at the travel company have taken legal action in a bid to recover their lost wages.
A breakdown of figures shows five chiefs have taken home nearly £ 47million since 2007.
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Frankhauser shares a lavish Surrey property with his wife Raffaella Cassani and two of his three children, which is rented for around £ 6,000 a month.
And former CFO Michael Healy was slammed for raking in £ 8.3million between 2012 and 2018 in salary and bonuses.
A DfT source said: "If ever there was an example of payment for failure, this is it."
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