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Leading HMO head resigned amid suspicions of fraud, conflict of interest – report

Ruth Ralbag’s sudden departure last week from the helm of Clalit Health Services said to have come as internal comptroller probe unearthed serious allegations

Screen capture from video of then-CEO of Klalit Health Services, Ruth Ralbag, May 2022. (YouTube)
Screen capture from video of then-CEO of Klalit Health Services, Ruth Ralbag, May 2022. (YouTube)

The sudden resignation last week by the head of the country’s biggest HMO, Clalit Health Services, came as an internal comptroller report accused her of possible fraud and breach of trust, according to a report Saturday.

Ruth Ralbag had only been CEO of Clalit for nine months when she announced she was leaving.

The comptroller probe was launched amid concerns over business and financial ties she had, Channel 13 news reported.

Reporting details from the finding, the network said it included accusations of fraud and breach of trust.

The probe found seven incidences in which Ralbag intervened on behalf of a consulting firm that employs her daughter in a manner that increased the likelihood of the company obtaining budgetary funds from the HMO, the report said.

Ralbag was also found to have concealed her continued work at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, which overlapped with her employment in the past as deputy director of finances at Clalit.

The comptroller wrote that “her conduct entailed a serious violation of integrity… and flagrant violation of the rules of proper management.”

The comptroller report found a “serious” conflict of interest in her actions.

“The conduct apparently amounts to fraud and breach of trust,” it said, according to Channel 13.

A statement on behalf of Ralbag said her daughter was a “junior employee” in the company who did not benefit from its profits, making the level of conflict of interest in the matter “among the lowest there is.”

It claimed Ralbag had reported the situation and “did not make any decisions on engagements with the company, only mentioning its name when she thought it was professionally relevant.”

Her statement further said that while at Shaare Zedek she was a senior executive in two companies working in the hospital’s mall, for which she received nothing in return, and that she had approval from the director-general of Clalit at the time.

“This is a tendentious report, intended to cover up the failures of the health organization’s board of directors,” it said.

Ralbag was known to have been at loggerheads with Clalit chairman Yohanan Locker for months.

Close acquaintances of Ralbag say that the comptroller probe was just a move to push her out, Channel 13 said.

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