Gonen Segev: Israel ex-minister admits spying for Iran

Gonen Segev in court

A former Israeli energy minister once jailed for trying to smuggle 32,000 ecstasy tablets into the country is to be jailed again - after spying for Iran.

In an announcement to the Jerusalem District Court, the State Attorney's office said former minister Gonen Segev, signed a plea bargain, under which he will serve 11 years in jail. He was suspected of providing information about Israel's energy industry, security sites, buildings and officials in political and security bodies to his Iranian handlers. The Shin Bet internal security service said at the time that he was recruited by Iranian intelligence while living in Nigeria.

Segev was detained in Equatorial Guinea in May and extradited to Israel.

Gonen Segev, centre, a former Israeli cabinet minister indicted on suspicion of spying for Iran is escorted by prison guards as he arrives at court in Jerusalem.

The former minister lived in Nigeria for almost 10 years, where he practiced medicine after his license was revoked in Israel. Other details in the case remain under gag order.

The charge of assisting the enemy in wartime, listed in the original indictment, was removed as part of the agreement, and Segev confessed to reduced security-related offenses, Channel 10 news reported.

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Segev was first elected to the 13th Knesset in 1992 as part of Rafael Eitan's Tzomet party, where he served as an opposition MK and a member of the Knesset's Finance Committee.

He served as Minister of Energy and Infrastructure under prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres between 1995 and 1996.

The report added that Segev told interrogators that he did not hand over any classified information to his Iranian handlers and that he had no ideological or financial motive to help an enemy state.

In March 2005, he was convicted of forgery and attempted drug smuggling in a plea deal and sentenced to five years in prison, two years of probation and a $27,500 fine.

The former minister tried to link his Iranian operators with Israelis with whom he was in contact so that the Iranian agents could dig out information from his victims, without mentioning to his Israeli victims that they were dealing with Iranian officers. Iranian officials have referred multiple times to Israel's annihilation. He was also convicted of credit card fraud for falsely claiming his card had gone missing, then using it to withdraw money, media reported. He has always been disgraced in Israel after being convicted in 2005 of attempting to smuggle 32,000 chocolate-covered ecstasy pills.

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