Robert Harneis-TDO- (FRANCE)- Former Energy Minister Gonen Segev has been charged with spying for Iran, Israel’s Shin Bet security service said on June 18. He was detained during a visit to Equatorial Guinea in May and extradited following a request by Israeli police.
Segev was allegedly providing Iran with sensitive information about locations of security centers and the country’s energy industry. The former minister was allegedly an active agent at the time of his arrest and had twice been to Iran to meet his handlers.
The Times of Israel reports:--
According to the Shin Bet, Segev, whose former ministerial responsibilities included energy and infrastructure, has knowingly been in contact with Iranian intelligence officials since 2012, making first contact with them at Iran’s embassy in Nigeria.
“Segev gave his operators information about [Israel’s] energy sector, about security locations in Israel, and about buildings and officials in diplomatic and security bodies, and more,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.
“Segev even visited Iran twice to meet with his handlers in full knowledge that they were Iranian intelligence operatives,” the security service said.
The Shin Bet said Segev met with his Iranian handlers in hotels and safe houses around the world and used a special encrypted device to send them messages in secret.
He was accused of making contact with Israeli figures in security, defense and diplomacy in order to mine them for information to send to Iran.
According to the Shin Bet, he also tried to make direct connections between his Israeli contacts and Iranian handlers, presenting the spies as businesspeople.
In mid-May, Segev traveled from Nigeria to Equatorial Guinea where he was arrested by local police and sent back to Israel, the intelligence agency said.
On Friday, he was indicted in a Jerusalem court on charges of assisting the enemy in wartime, spying, and a number of other related crimes, but the case remained under a gag order until Monday. Some details of the case remain sealed.
A gag order on the case was lifted on Monday, but some details remain sealed. A statement issued by Shin Bet on Monday said Segev was detained immediately upon his arrival in Israel last month.
He was questioned about information which indicated he might have been in contact with Iranian intelligence agents and assisting their activities against Israel.
Investigators discovered during the interrogation that Segev had made contact with officials in the Iranian embassy in Nigeria in 2012 and that he visited Iran twice to meet his handlers, Shin Bet said.
Segev, it added, had also met his handlers in other countries and was given a classified communications system to send them coded messages.
Segev's lawyers stressed that the full indictment painted a "different picture than the Shin Bet statement", Israeli media reported.
Segev, a medical doctor, got his ministerial office in 1995 and headed the Energy and Infrastructure Ministry (now known as the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources) until June 1996.
After leaving office, Segev became a businessman and moved to Nigeria. He was arrested in 2004 for attempting to smuggle 32,000 ecstasy (MDMA) tablets from the Netherlands into Israel. Additionally, he committed several offenses involving use of credit cards.