Former Israeli minister of energy and infrastructure Gonen Segev has been charged with spying and aiding the enemy in wartime, for allegedly passing sensitive information to the Jewish state’s arch-rival, Iran.
Segev, who previously served time for drug-smuggling, was arrested in Equatorial Guinea and extradited to Israeli in May. Israel’s Shin Bet security service said in statement on Monday that the former cabinet member had been cooperating with Iranian intelligence officials since 2012, after establishing contact with them at Iran’s embassy in Nigeria.
“Segev gave his operators information about [Israel’s] energy sector, about security locations in Israel and about buildings and officials in diplomatic and security bodies, and more,” the agency’s statement reads.
The 62-year-old allegedly remained an active agent at the time of his arrest and previously “visited Iran twice to meet with his handlers,” Shin Bet said. The ex-minister also held meetings with Iranians in hotels and safe houses around the globe and had received a special device to pass on encrypted messages, it added.
Segev was making contacts with Israeli officials, including security officers and diplomats, in order to gather information desired by Tehran, according to Shin Bet. He also attempted to organize meetings of Israeli figures with Iranian spies, presenting the latter as businessmen, the intelligence agency said.
The Jerusalem Court indicted Segev on charges of aiding the enemy in wartime, spying and other offenses on Friday.
Some details of the case currently remain under seal, with Segev’s lawyers saying in a statement that the full charge sheet would make the accusations seem less harsh.
“Even at this early stage it can be said that the permitted publication attributes extreme gravity to the events, even though within the indictment, of which the full details remain confidential, a different picture is painted,” the lawyers stated.
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According to Israel’s Channel 10, Segev told interrogators that he “wanted to fool the Iranians and come back to Israel a hero” as his reputation in the home country had been tarnished. The former minister also insisted that he provided no important data to the Iranians.
The former minister is reportedly being held in solitary confinement at one of the Shin Bet facilities, with his next court hearing expected in three weeks.
Segev, who served as the head of the Energy and Infrastructure Ministry from 1995 to 1996, has been living out of Israel since 2007, as his political career came to an abrupt end. He left the country after serving two years in jail for an attempt to smuggle 32,000 ecstasy (MDMA) tablets from the Netherlands into the Jewish state.
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