Published: Thu, January 10, 2019

Ex-Israeli Minister Charged of Iran Spying to Serve 11 years

Ex-Israeli Minister Charged of Iran Spying to Serve 11 years

A former Israeli minister charged with spying for Israel's arch-foe Iran has reached a plea deal with prosecutors that will see him serve 11 years in prison, the justice ministry said on Wednesday.

The Shin Bet internal security service accused him in a statement at the time of providing Iran with "information related to the energy market, security sites in Israel, buildings and officials in political and security bodies, and more" while he was living in Nigeria between 2012 and his arrest at Israel's Ben Gurion airport in May 2018.

Iran and Israel are bitter enemies, whose agents and proxies regularly conduct lethal operations against each other, but Segev's lawyers this week insisted that "his motive was not to aid an enemy during war".

While Segev admitted to the charge of espionage, he reportedly told investigators that he had been trying to "fool the Iranians and come back to Israel a hero".

He served as Minister of Energy and Infrastructure under prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres between 1995 and 1996.

"That is why the treason charge was removed from the amended indictment". He worked to put the Israeli officials in contact with Iranian intelligence elements, while trying to deceive them and present the Iranians as innocuous businessmen. During his visits, Segev met with his operators in secret apartments, used encryption equipment and tried to connect Iranian agents with Israelis.

Qais Hassan Kamal Obeid, an Israeli citizen from Taybeh who moved to Lebanon, tried to lure the Israelis to travel overseas by promising them easy money for criminal endeavors.

According to Channel 10, 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. Security cameras on the ATMs showed he was lying. He was also convicted of credit card fraud for falsely claiming his card had gone missing, then using it to withdraw money, media reported. He was given probation and was the choice between paying a NIS 50,000 fine or serving three months in prison.

In March 2005, he was convicted of forgery and attempted drug smuggling in a plea deal and sentenced to five years in prison, two years of probation and a $27,500 fine. Segev had been found guilty of attempting to bring 25,000 Ecstasy pills into Israel from the Netherlands.

He was indicted in a Jerusalem court in June, but details were not immediately released.

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