11 years for ex-minister who spied for Iran

AN Israeli former cabinet minister will serve 11 years in jail after admitting to spying for arch-enemy Iran.

Gonen Segev, energy minister from 1995 to 1996, was recruited by Iranian intelligence while living in Nigeria and had “served as an agent”, Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet has said.

Investigators found that Segev made contact with officials at the Iranian embassy in Nigeria in 2012 and that he visited Iran twice for meetings with his handlers, Shin Bet added when Segev was charged last year.

Segev, it went on, received an encrypted communications system from Iranian agents and supplied Iran with “information related to the energy sector, security sites in Israel and officials in political and security institutions”.

A judge is expected to rubber-stamp the sentence, which was arrived at in a plea deal on Wednesday, on February 11.

The former minister lived in Nigeria for nearly 10 years, where he practised medicine after his license was revoked in Israel.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 Holland 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 Israel’s Channel 10 TV news, Segev was lured to the Iranian embassy in Abuja under the guise of treating the children of the Iranian staff.

He was arrested in May during a visit to Equatorial Guinea and extradited to Israel.

Channel 10 said Segev was held in solitary confinement for nine days in a Shin Bet facility in the centre of the country and was not allowed to contact his lawyers.

The report added that he 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.

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