Israeli former minister Gonen Segev to be jailed for spying for Iran | News | DW | 09.01.2019
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Israeli former minister Gonen Segev to be jailed for spying for Iran

After plea bargaining, Gonen Segev is to be jailed for 11 years. He was extradited from Africa last year for acting as an agent for a foreign power; Israel's main foe, Iran.

In his latest brush with the law, Gonen Segev agreed with Israeli prosecutors on Wednesday to plead guilty to spying charges.

The justice ministry said in a statement that Segev would serve 11 years in prison as a result of the plea bargain in which he had admitted to "serious espionage offenses and reporting to the enemy." The ministry said there was a gag order on any further details. Formal sentencing is expected in February.

Segev was extradited from Equatorial Guinea in May 2018 and charged with spying for Iran, which is Israel's main adversary. The Shin Bet Israeli security agency said Segev had been recruited by Iranian intelligence officers in 2012 through the Iranian embassy in Nigeria. Segev lived in Nigeria for nearly 10 years, practicing medicine after his license was revoked in Israel.

Israeli flag painted on the sole of an Iranian soldier's boot

The Israeli flag is shown on the sole of an Iranian soldier's boot

Israeli media quoted Segev as saying during his interrogation: "I wanted to fool the Iranians and come back to Israel a hero." 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. He is believed to have traveled to Iran twice.

A criminal career

The trial was held behind closed doors from July 2018 and few details of the charges or procedure were released.

Segev was energy and infrastructure minister from 1995 to 1996 under the Labour government of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. He defected from the far right to vote in favor of the Oslo II peace deal with the Palestinians in 1995.

His previous criminal activities include:

  • smuggling 32,000 chocolate-covered ecstasy pills into Israel from the Netherlands in 2004
  • using a diplomatic passport with a falsified expiry date
  • attempted credit card fraud

jm/msh (Reuters, AFP)

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