The attorney general closed an investigation Wednesday into sexual assault allegations against Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom, who is running for president.
“The event that the complainant described had passed the statute of limitations, and therefore even if it were possible to adequately prove that the crime had been committed, it would not be possible to prosecute it,” Yehuda Weinsten said in a statement.
Shalom was first questioned by police in late March after a former employee alleged that he sexually assaulted her 15 years ago. Both the police and the state prosecution sought to reinforce the allegations with additional complaints from other women, without which further action was problematic due to the statute of limitations. A second possible victim was later found, but she adamantly refused to lodge a complaint.
After investigating the claims, police and the state attorney recommended that the investigation be closed.
Last Wednesday Weinstein instructed police to continue their investigation after suspicions emerged that Shalom may have harassed a second woman in the past. In his statement announcing the end of the probe, however, he said that police had been unable to substantiate any further claims.
For a time, Shalom was considered a leading candidate for president; a successor is to be chosen next month as Shimon Peres’s term comes to an end in July. It was widely expected that Shalom would withdraw his candidacy in light of the allegations against him, and it is unclear how this newest development will affect his decision.
Sources close to Shalom have denied the allegations vehemently, saying he did not even know the woman in question.
Some sources suggested the accusation was a smear campaign related to the presidential race.