Former cabinet minister Gonen Segev convicted of spying for Iran

Under a plea bargain reached between Segev's lawyers and government prosecutors, he will receive 11 years in prison.

January 9, 2019 09:42
1 minute read.
Former cabinet minister Gonen Segev convicted of spying for Iran

Gonen Segev, a former Israeli cabinet minister indicted on suspicion of spying for Iran, is escorted by prison guards as he leaves the court in Jerusalem, July 5, 2018. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)


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Disgraced former minister Gonen Segev was convicted of spying for Iran by the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday in a plea bargain.

A statement from the prosecution said that the sides would ask the court for an 11-year jail term.

Sentencing arguments have been set for February 11. Other details in the case remain under gag order.

Channel 10 previously reported that Segev admitted to the spying charges, but that he explained that he was trying to help Israel and return as a "hero" under the guise of spying for Iran.

The former energy and infrastructure minister – who also spent time in jail for drug smuggling, forgery and fraud – was extradited from Equatorial Guinea and arrested in May on suspicion of assisting the enemy in a time of war, spying against the State of Israel and providing intelligence to the enemy.

According to Channel 10, Segev was held in solitary confinement for nine days in a Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) facility in the center of the country and was not allowed to contact his attorneys.

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.

“I wanted to fool the Iranians and come back to Israel a hero,” he was quoted as saying during his interrogation.

Segev is suspected of providing his Iranian handlers with intelligence related to, among other things, Israel’s energy industry, security sites, buildings and officials in the Israeli political and security spectrum.

The former minister lived in Nigeria for nearly 10 years, where he practiced medicine after his license was revoked in Israel. He was arrested and convicted for drug smuggling and credit card fraud in 2005 after attempting to smuggle 32,000 ecstasy tablets from the Netherlands into Israel.

While in Nigeria, Segev served members of the Jewish community as well as diplomats, even receiving an official letter of appreciation from the head of security at the Foreign Ministry for saving the life of an Israeli diplomat.

According to Channel 10, Segev was lured to the Iranian Embassy in Abuja under the guise of treating the children of the Iranian staff.

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.

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