Arab-Israel multi-millionaire, former Knesset candidate, arrested for spying for Iran

Yaakub Abu al-Qian, who was a candidate on Moshe Yaalon’s Telem list in 2019, had a longstanding relationship with Hyder al-Mashhadani, a liaison for Iranian intelligence.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Yaakub Abu al-Qian, a Bedouin millionaire and who was a candidate to serve as a Member of Knesset, was arrested on June 10 on suspicion of maintaining illicit contacts with a Lebanese-Iraqi source and through him with Iranian intelligence, to whom he passed information, the Shin Bet revealed Monday.

The investigation revealed that Abu al-Qian, 46, who is close to public figures in Israel and was a candidate to run on Moshe Yaalon’s Telem list in 2019, had a longstanding relationship with Hyder al-Mashhadani, who serves as a liaison for Iranian intelligence.

As part of the connection, Abu al-Qian provided him with updates on what is happening in Israel.

The connection between the two also revolved around possible business opportunities in Arab countries in the region.

The investigation also shows that Abu al-Qian asked at a certain point to meet with other operatives through Hyder al-Mashhadani, while he understood that these were Iranian elements and even emphasized the secrecy of the planned meeting between the parties.

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In the end, despite Abu al-Qian’s willingness, the meeting did not take place.

Abu al-Qian was held in the Shin Bet’s custody after his arrest without contact with a lawyer, as is customary in espionage cases.

Abu al-Qian’s investigation was concluded Monday. The Southern District Attorney’s Office filed a serious indictment in the Be’er Sheva District Court charging him with contact with a foreign agent and providing information to the enemy.

A multi-millionaire, Abu al-Qian owns a contracting company that builds residential and public buildings in Bedouin localities. He also owns a manpower company in the fields of construction, cleaning and agriculture, and enjoys business and financial connections in the Palestinian Authority.

Initially from the Bedouin village of Hura in the Negev, he resided in recent years in the upscale Jewish town of Meitar, just outside Be’er Sheva.

Yaalon has remained silent on the issue to date.