Former Israeli cabinet minister Gonen Segev was sentenced Wednesday to 11 years in prison for spying for Iran, Haaretz reports. Segev, who worked as Israel’s energy and infrastructure minister in the mid-1990s, was arrested in 2018 for allegedly giving information to Tehran that would harm Israel’s national security, beginning as early as 2012. Although his information wasn’t up to date because he left his role in 1996, Haaretz reports Segev allegedly attempted to learn new information by speaking with Israeli contacts. He reportedly claims he planned to become a double agent for Israel, and says he told a high-level security official that he’d been contacted by Tehran. This isn’t Segev’s first brush with the law: As The Daily Beast previously reported, Segev was sentenced to five years in prison after he was caught attempting to bring 32,000 ecstasy tablets from Amsterdam to Israel in 2004.
Segev’s lawyer told Haaretz that his client wasn’t actually trying to help Iran. “The indictment had been drastically amended, regarding the crimes and the facts, too,” he said. “Note that the prosecution wants to release more information to the public and when that happens, it will transpire that Segev had contact with the Iranians not to help the enemy, which is why the crime of treason was removed from the indictment.”