Former minister, Gonen Segev, 62, who moved to Nigeria 15 years ago after being caught in serious criminal wrongdoing, was detained last month by the Shin Bet security service on suspicion of committing grave treason, espionage and aid to an enemy in time of war. Segev, a former Israeli air force captain and graduate of its flying school, stands accused of serving Iranian intelligence, to which he passed sensitive secret data, and acting to recruit other Israelis as spies for Iran.
Segev was also a former medical doctor who lost his license.
The police and Shin Bet revealed on Monday, June 18, that he was arrested in May when he arrived in Israel from Equatorial Guinea, which refused him entry because of his criminal record and extradited him to Israel.
Police questioning revealed that Segev’s first contact with the Iranian embassy officials took place in Nigeria in 2013. He then secretly traveled to Iran twice for his first interviews with his Iranian intelligence controllers. He continued to meet them in other parts of the world at apartments rented by the service and hotels. At some point, he was given an independent communications device for direct transmissions. His interrogators discovered that the confidential information he passed to his Iranian masters concerned Israel’s energy network, security sites, and the addresses of and office-holders in key political and security bodies. The alleged spy also maintained contacts with Israelis employed in various security and foreign relations capacities in order to pump them for information and attempts to bring them in touch with Iranian intelligence.
Gonen Segev, who served the now defunct Tzomet Party as Energy Minister from 1995-1996, is the highest-ranking Israeli figure ever to be accused of spying for Iran. A gag order has been imposed on the details of the case. Segev’s lawyers said Monday that the full version of the indictment filed against him presents a different picture than that gained from its partial release by the Shin Bet and police. They said in his defense that he saw his meeting with Iranian officials as way to help his country.