Former Israeli cabinet minister confesses to spying for Iran

Gonen Segev admits that he spied for Iran, a country whose leadership has vowed to destroy Israel.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

A former Israeli cabinet minister has confessed that he spied for Iran, and as a part of a plea bargain will serve 11 years in jail. The Jerusalem District Court was notified Wednesday of the deal worked out between the defense and prosecution.

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office said that a sentencing hearing for Segev will be held on February 11.

“The plea bargain reflects the true proportion of this case,” said the defense team in a statement, arguing that it is “clear that Segev indeed had contacts with Iranians, but not to aid them. That is why the treason charge was removed from the amended indictment.”

The charge of assisting the enemy in wartime, listed in the original indictment, was removed as part of the agreement, and Segev confessed to reduced security-related offenses. According to the new, reduced indictment, Segev allegedly met with Iranian intelligence officials repeatedly over the past six years, including twice in Tehran, having traveled to Iran on a non-Israeli passport.

He had been indicted on charges that included providing Tehran with information on Israel’s energy industry, security sites, various facilities, and political and military officials. The 63-year-old Segev served as Israel’s energy and infrastructure minister during 1995 and 1996 under Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

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He had been living in Nigeria in recent years working as a physician, but when he tried to enter Equatorial Guinea in May 2018, he was refused entry because of his criminal past and instead transferred to Israel.

He was arrested and questioned by the Shin Bet and Israel Police after intelligence gathered on him raised the suspicion that he had been in contact with Iranian intelligence and was assisting them in their activities against Israel.

The investigation found that Segev was recruited and operated as an agent of the Iranian intelligence. He was first contacted by Iranian embassy officials in Nigeria in 2012, and at a later stage traveled to Iran twice for meetings with his handlers, knowing full well that they belonged to Iranian intelligence.

Segev did not deny the allegations leveled against him during his investigation but claimed that he had attempted to help Israel through the information that he was receiving. He said that he was trying to act as a double agent against Iran and hoped to return home as a hero.

In 2002, Israel’s security services uncovered a Hezbollah plot to kidnap Israeli citizens, including Segev, to Lebanon to be used as bargaining chips for negotiations on prisoner swaps.

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His criminal career has also included convictions for attempted drug smuggling and credit card fraud.