Israel ex-minister will face 11 years for spying for Iran

Former Israeli cabinet minister Gonen Segev, seen here being escorted from court after a July 5, 2018 hearing (AFP pic)

JERUSALEM: An Israeli ex-minister charged with spying for the country’s arch-foe Iran has reached a plea bargain with prosecutors that will see him serve 11 years in prison, the justice ministry said Wednesday.

Gonen Segev will plead guilty to serious espionage and transfer of information to the enemy, the ministry said in a statement.

A sentencing hearing has been set for February 11.

The trial of Segev, who served as energy and infrastructure minister from 1995 to 1996, opened in July but was held behind closed doors, with few details of the accusations publicly released.

Segev served in the Labour government of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin after defecting from the far right to cast the decisive vote in favour of the Oslo II peace agreement with the Palestinians.

He has previously served prison time on criminal charges.

In 2004, he was charged with trying to smuggle 30,000 ecstasy pills into Israel from the Netherlands using a diplomatic passport with a falsified expiry date.

The following year, he admitted the charges as part of a plea bargain.

He has also been convicted of attempted credit card fraud.