Gonen Segev (R) and the Iranian flag.
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS AND KNESSET)
Disgraced former minister Gonen Segev, who has been charged with spying for Iran, has admitted to doing so in order to help Israel and return as a “hero,” Channel 10 has reported.
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 last month 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 the TV report, 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 during that time.
The report added that Segev told interrogators from the Shin Bet 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 Israeli political and security bodies.
The former minister lived in Nigeria for close to 10 years where he practiced medicine after his license was revoked in Israel.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.
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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.
A statement released by the Shin Bet said that the investigation by the agency and Israel police found that Segev, who first met with elements of the Iranian embassy in Nigeria in 2012, knew that they were from Iranian intelligence. The Shin Bet stated that Segev was recruited and acted as an agent on behalf of Iranian intelligence and later traveled twice to Iran to meet with his handlers.
While Israeli security officials do not think that Segev gave any sensitive and classified intelligence to Tehran, Lebanon’s Al Akhbar reported that he provided Iran with “a variety of information that will serve it in the struggle against the Zionist entity.”
At the request of the Shin Bet and the Israel Police, a gag order has been imposed on the other details of the case.
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