Former Israeli minister charged with spying for Iran

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By Mark Ellis —

Gonen Segev

Former minister Gonen Segev was charged June 15th with spying for Iran, providing Israel’s foremost adversary with information about locations of security centers and the country’s energy industry, according to The Times of Israel.

Authorities say he was an active agent at the time of his arrest and made two trips to Iran to meet Iranian intelligence operatives.

He was extradited to Israel from Equatorial Guinea in order to face the spy charges. Segev had been living abroad since his release from prison after he was found guilty of drug smuggling in 2006.

He allegedly was in contact with Iranian intelligence officials since 2012 and made his first connection with them at Iran’s embassy in Nigeria, authorities told The Times of Israel.

“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,” authorities said.

Segev met with his Iranian counterparts in hotels and safe houses around the world and used a special encrypted device to communicate with them.

He allegedly cultivated relationships with Israeli government officials to obtain sensitive information he sold to Iran.

His lawyers claim he sought to mislead the Iranians and hoped to return home to Israel a hero.

One media report said he initially contacted the Iranians by “knocking on the door” of the Iranian embassy in Nigeria “to offer his services.”

Segev was born in Israel in 1956. He was a captain in the IDF and went on to study medicine at Ben Gurion University in the Negev and became a pediatrician.

He was elected to the Knesset in 1992, at the age of 35, as part of Raful Eitan’s now defunct Tzomet party, according to The Times of Israel.

After he left politics, he became a businessman, and was arrested in 2004 for attempting to smuggle 32,000 ecstasy (MDMA) tablets from the Netherlands into Israel.

The former minister was convicted in 2005 of drug smuggling, forgery and fraud. He received a five-year prison sentence as well as a $27,500 fine. He was released from prison in 2007.

Segev left the country and has since been working as a doctor and a businessman in Nigeria.