(photo credit: REUTERS)
Police questioned National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom under caution for two hours on Tuesday, as part of a probe into a sexual harassment allegation from 1998.
Police said Tuesday that “for two hours the minister gave his version of events about the incident in the complaint.”
They added that the content of Shalom’s testimony, which he gave at the Lahav 433 unit headquarters in Lod, will be passed on to the attorney-general, who will decide how to proceed with the case.
Shalom issued a strong denial on Monday evening, saying the allegations amount to “political assassination.”
The Justice Ministry and police confirmed on Monday that Weinstein, alongside State Attorney Shai Nitzan and other top police and ministry officials, launched a preliminary probe to check the credibility of recent allegations of sexual offenses committed years ago against a woman, reportedly by Shalom.
The complainant is reportedly a woman who worked for Shalom’s office 15 years ago when he served as minster of science and technology.
In an interview with Army Radio on Monday, she said that the alleged incident took place in Shalom’s hotel room during a stay in Jerusalem. According to the interview, Shalom was sitting on his bed in the hotel room in a bathrobe and told the woman “you are going to change my life.”
“This is a political assassination,” Channel 2 quoted the minister as saying in response to the accusations. “I have no idea what they’re talking about. I have never heard this woman’s name in my life.”
The maximum statute of limitations for prosecuting even more serious sexual offenses is 10 years.
In that light, it is unclear whether the complaint could lead to any official criminal investigation or indictment against Shalom, unless other complainants can be found with more recent allegations, which some reports indicated the police were seeking.
Depending on Weinstein’s findings from the preliminary examination, he will then decide whether to launch a criminal investigation or close the matter even before that point.