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The board of the National Labor Federation (Histadrut Ovdim Haleumit) decided yesterday to remove Michael Zoller from his post as chairman of the Leumit HMO.

The board also decided to remove him from all his other positions as head of the pension funds and financial bodies controlled by Leumit. Zoller is considered to be one of Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson's closest confidantes. Hirchson had also previously served as the chairman of the Leumit labor federation.

Zoller has been battling with the present heads of the union for some time. The board justified its decision saying that Zoller has refused to report to the board on various financial activities, such as investments and sales of stocks done in Leumit's name.

The board also claimed that Zoller had acted to use the HMO's employees to act against the heads of the union, while doing so with HMO funds.

The Health Ministry said Zoller was fired without proper authority and that the action is invalid, as any such step requires ministry approval.

The HMO also informed the labor federation that it considers the removal to have no validity either.