June 18 (UPI) — Israeli authorities said Monday they have arrested and charged former Energy Minister Gonen Segev with spying for Iran.
The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday Segev was indicted last week on suspicion of spying for Tehran and aiding the enemy in a time of war.
Israeli police and its Shin Bet security service arrested Segev last month, officials said, and their investigation found he’d given Iran sensitive information about security center locations and the country’s energy industry.
Prosecutors said at the time of his arrest, Segev was an active agent and had traveled twice to Iran to meet handlers.
Segev, a disgraced former doctor and politician, had been living in Nigeria. He served jail time on 2005 convictions of forgery and attempted drug smuggling and was released in 2007, YNet News reported. He had pleaded guilty to trying to smuggle 32,000 ecstasy pills into Israel and forging a passport. When he tried to enter Equatorial Guinea last month, he was denied entry due to his criminal past and transferred to Israel.
Shin Bet and Israeli police arrested and interrogated him based on suspicion he’d been in contact with Iranian intelligence. Officials said he’d been an intelligence operative for Tehran since 2012, when Iranian Intelligence embassy officials in Nigeria contacted him. Investigators say he provided Tehran with information on the energy market, security and intelligence about buildings and officials in Israel.
Israel and Iran have been bitter enemies for decades and neither government hides its disdain for the other. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu campaigned against the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, and many current and former Tehran officials have publicly expressed desires to wipe Israel off the map.
Segev said he was trying to help Israel by “obtaining information,” YNetNews’ report said.
Segev, 62, served one year as energy minister in 1995. He left politics after losing his seat in the 1996 elections.
The Iranian government did not immediately comment Monday on Segev’s indictment.