BUSTED: Former Israeli Energy Minister Caught Spying for Iran
Gonen Segev has long been known as a Israeli public servant who went astray of the law. Following a stint as a military pilot in the Israeli Air Force in the 1970’s, Zegev became a doctor before being elected to the Knesset in 1992 as part of the now defunct Tzomet Party. In April 2004, after leaving Israeli politics to focus on his business career, Segev was arrested for attempting to smuggle tens of thousands of ecstasy tablets from Amsterdam to Tel Aviv, disguised as M&M’s. On Monday, Israel’s elite counter-intelligence force, Shin Bet, arrested Segev for spying on behalf of Iran.
As the Jerusalem Post first reported, the indictment for suspicion of assisting the enemy in a time of war was entered against Segev in the Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office on June 15. After being first entered under seal, the indictment was approved by the Attorney General and State Attorney almost immediately. The indictment alleges that Segev provided sensitive and classified information related to Israel’s energy infrastructure to his Iranian handlers.
According to the Shin Bet investigation, Israeli authorities first became suspicious of Gonen Segev in 2012 when he made an unusual visit to the Iranian Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria. According to Israeli intelligence officials, Segev knew the people who invited him to the embassy to be Iranian intelligence operatives. On the dimly lit Udi Street Embassy, Segev’s initial meeting with his new Iranian handlers lasted late into the night. Due to the suspicious nature of his meeting, Shin Bet immediately started a case file and sought the resources of Israel’s signal intelligence specialists in Unit 8200.
In hotels, bars and sporting events in the 5 years following his initial 2012 meeting, Segev passed information to his Iranian handlers. Segev maintained his ties to unwitting members of Israel’s security and energy apparatus, and used them as sources for the information he eventually passed to Iran.
Gonen Segev’s attorneys Eli Zohar and Moshe Mazor said in a statement: “Most of the details are confidential at the request of the state. Even at this early stage, it is possible to say that the publication that was permitted makes things even more difficult, even though from the indictment, whose full details remain confidential, a different picture emerges.”
Segev requested a pardon from Israeli Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman in 2016, so that he could return to Israel to again work as a medical doctor for the first time since being convicted of smuggling MDMA pills into Israel. At this point, Segev’s concern will no longer be getting into Israel. Israeli legal and national security experts say Segev is unlikely to leave the country ever again.