Associates of former minister Silvan Shalom said on Tuesday that a woman who claims that he sexually harassed her three years ago tried to extort him in exchange for not filing a complaint against him. His associates told the news website Ynet that since he refused to pay her 700,000 shekels ($180,000) in exchange for her silence she decided to turn to the police. A senior law enforcement official said that the complaint is "not serious, and will not likely lead to an indictment."
Army Radio reported on Tuesday morning that the woman has pressed charges against Shalom for sexually harassing her three years ago. According to TV Channel 2, the 60-year-old woman was employed as a card-reader by Shalom and his wife. She claims that while at his house he touched her hair and leg against her wishes, continuing to do so despite her attempts to repulse him.
According to the report, the woman’s lawyer sent Shalom a letter over a month ago, attaching the results of a polygraph test she had taken. Shalom has not yet responded to these accusations.
On December 20, Shalom, who was then interior minister and deputy prime minister, announced his departure from politics following reports of his involvement in sexual harassment incidents. He denies all the accusations.
In February it was reported that the police were about to inform the attorney general and the state prosecutor that they had concluded their investigation in the matter, with a recommendation not to open an official investigation. The national fraud unit had attempted to contact many women who had worked with Shalom, but by February there were no women willing to press charges.
In December Haaretz reported that a former employee of Shalom gave testimony that suggested that he had touched her intimate parts against her will for a prolonged period. She stated that this occurred in the workplace and outside it, including in hotels. Subsequently, other women started to make similar claims. Some of these were his subordinates in recent years.
In the past there was a report by one of Shalom’s bodyguards, who had worked with him for a short period, who claimed that on two occasions he had seen Shalom having intimate relations with women in a bathroom. In one case he identified the woman as an employee at the office. After reports in 2014 that Shalom was the target of investigations of sexual harassment, the bodyguard approached the Lahav 433 fraud unit and told investigators about these incidents. He said that policemen showed him some photos that did not match the woman he had seen, and that the investigation ended there.
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