Israel's justice ministry ends sex crime inquiry against top minister running for presidency

Israel's justice ministry says it has dropped a sex-crimes investigation into a senior government minister and presidential hopeful.

It said Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided to end the inquiry against Silvan Shalom on Wednesday. It cited Israel's 10-year statute of limitations for such offenses as the primary reason for ending the probe.

Earlier this year, a woman alleged that said she felt coerced to perform a sex act on Shalom when she was his secretary 15 years ago.

Shalom held a number of top posts over the past 20 years. He now serves as water and energy minister and is expected to contend for the presidency as Shimon Peres retires this summer.

Former President Moshe Katsav quit in 2007 to face a sex-crime case that later sent him to prison.