A FORMER Israeli government minister has been charged with spying for Iran.
Ex-energy and infrastructure minister Gonen Segev is being held on suspicion of assisting the enemy in a time of war, spying against the State of Israel and providing intelligence to the enemy.
He was extradited from Equatorial Guinea and arrested last month. Segev has also spent time in jail for drug smuggling, forgery and fraud.
He 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.
Israel’s Channel 10 TV station reported that Segev admitted to spying for Iran in order to help Israel and return as a “hero”.
The report added that he told interrogators from the Shin Bet security agency 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.
An investigation found that Segev, 62, who was energy minister from 1995 to 1996, was recruited in Nigeria and acted as an agent on behalf of Iranian intelligence.
The former minister, had been living in Nigeria in recent years working as a doctor,
The TV report said he was lured to the Iranian embassy in Abuja under the guise of treating the children of the Iranian staff.
It is alleged that in 2012, he first met elements of the Iranian embassy, knowing they were from Iranian intelligence, and later travelled twice to Iran to meet his handlers.
The investigation also found that he met them in various countries.
Segev’s lawyers, Eli Zohav and Moshe Mazor, said that the details released “make matters appear very grave, even though the indictment — the majority of which is still under gag order — portrays a different picture”.
Segev was jailed in Israel in 2004 for attempting to smuggle Ecstasy pills into the country. He left Israel in 2007.