(photo credit: REUTERS)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Wednesday night decided that the sexcrimes investigation into National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom would continue despite reported police recommendations to close the case.
Pressed as to the details regarding Weinstein’s overruling the police, the Justice Ministry merely confirmed that the investigation was continuing, but did not deny that the decision was against the police’s recommendations.
That non-denial stood out, as often the ministry refuses to comment on such issues until it sends out an official statement.
On Wednesday afternoon, police said that the head of the Police Investigations and Intelligence Branch, Asst.-Ch. Meni Yitzhaki, met with State Attorney Shai Nitzan at the attorney-general’s office earlier in the day, and officers presented their case so far against Shalom. Justice Ministry officials are still going over the findings and have yet to decide how to proceed with the case, police added.
On Tuesday, a senior member of the Investigations and Intelligence Branch said that they expect to finish the investigation of Shalom in the coming days, but would not say whether or not police planned to recommend closing the case or pressing charges.
On March 25, Shalom was questioned under caution for two hours at the Lod headquarters of the police’s LAHAV 433 unit as part of a probe into a sexual harassment allegation from 1998.
The questioning came after Weinstein, Nitzan, and other top police and ministry officials launched a preliminary investigation to check the credibility of recent allegations of sexual offenses committed years ago against a woman, reportedly by Shalom.
The woman worked for Shalom’s office 15 years ago while he was minister of science and technology.
The woman told Army Radio in late March that Shalom called her into his hotel in Jerusalem and was wearing only a towel and sitting on his bed. She said that he told her, “You are going to change my life.”
Shalom, a possible candidate for president of the state, has denied the allegations and said they are politically motivated. The maximum statute of limitations for prosecuting even more serious sexual offenses is 10 years.
Therefore, it is unclear whether the complaint could lead to any official criminal investigation or indictment against Shalom if other complainants cannot be found with more recent allegations.