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Minister, Smuggler

Drugs in candy boxes. Segev Photo: Avi Cohen
Drugs in candy boxes. Segev Photo: Avi Cohen
Segev used forged passport to evade authorities Photo: Tel Aviv Police
Segev used forged passport to evade authorities Photo: Tel Aviv Police
Couldn't handle the pressure. Verner Photo: Avi Cohen
Couldn't handle the pressure. Verner Photo: Avi Cohen

From minister to drug smuggler

Gonen Segev confesses to charges he tried to smuggle 32,000 Ecstasy tablets into Israel

By Vered Luvitch
Published: 02.27.05, 13:43 / Israel News

Former minister Gonen Segev confessed to charges Sunday that he attempted to smuggle into Israel 32,000 Ecstacy tablets from Holland and forged the expiration date on his diplomatic passport.


Segev was elected to the Knesset in 1992 as a member of the right-wing Tsomet party, which was headed by former IDF Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan.


The confession came as part of a plea bargain with the prosecution, after Segev's collaborator Ariel Friedman also confessed to similar charges made against him.


Moshe Verner, who was also charged in the case, committed suicide while in police custody.


Segev, who served as energy minister from 1995-1996, was convicted of attempting to smuggle dangerous drugs (in boxes of M&M candy, among other things), possession of dangerous drugs, and attempting to receive benefits fraudulently.


According to the indictment, Segev also forged the expiration date of his diplomatic passport in order to avoid being subjected to a search by Amsterdam airport authorities.


Credit card fraud to boot


Segev’s confession comes after a several-month-long trial in which he repeatedly contended he was innocent.


The prosecution is expected to ask the court to sentence Segev to five years in prison and a USD 27,500 fine that would be allocated to an anti-drug foundation.


Segev’s attorney Tzion Amir said his client's decision to acknowledge the charges was a difficult one.


“He was caught in such a circumstantial judicial system that we were forced to reach a decision,” he said.


Five months ago the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court sentenced Segev to one-year probation and a NIS 50,000 (about USD 11,300) fine on charges of credit card fraud and attempting to receive benefits fraudulently.


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