Gonen Segev (C), a former Israeli cabinet minister indicted on suspicion of spying for Iran, is escorted by prison guards as he arrives at court in Jerusalem July 5, 2018. Photo by Ronen Zvulun/EPA-EFE
Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Former Israeli official Gonen Segev said Wednesday he spied for Iran in a plea bargain that could land him in prison for 11 years.
Segev, who will be sentenced Feb. 11, told the court he was actually trying to help Israel under the guise of spying for Iran, the Jerusalem Post reported. Segev had served as Israel's energy and infrastructure minister.
Segev was extradited from Equatorial Guinea and arrested last May on suspicion of assisting the enemy in a time of war, spying against the State of Israel and providing intelligence to the enemy.
The former official has already served prison time for drug smuggling, forgery and fraud. Segev, who entered his plea in Jerusalem District Court, told investigators that he never turned over any classified documents to his Iranian handlers and that he had the incentive to help them.
"I wanted to fool the Iranians and come back to Israel a hero," Segev allegedly said during his interrogation. Authorities believe that Segev did give Iranian officials secrets to Israel's energy industry, security sites, buildings and officials in the Israeli political and security spectrum.
Israeli authorities claim that Segev was first approached by Iranian officials in 2012 while he practiced medicine in Nigeria and eventually traveled to Iran twice.
"The plea bargain and amended indictment restore the affair to its natural dimensions," Segev's attorney Moshe Mazor said, the Haaretz reported. "The indictment had been drastically amended, regarding the crimes and the facts, too.
"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," Mazor continued.
Israeli prosecutor Geula Cohen said, though, that the crimes Segev entered guilty pleas to speak for themselves.