Former Minister Segev Admits Attempting to Smuggle Drugs

Roni Singer-Heruti
Zvi Harel
Haaretz Correspondents
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Former energy minister Gonen Segev admitted Sunday morning to charges of attempting to smuggle some 32,000 ecstasy pills from the Netherlands and forging his diplomatic passport.

Segev, who had long refuted the accusations, admitted to the charges as part of a plea bargain under which he will get five years imprisonment and a $27,500 fine which will be transferred to the Israel Anto-Drug Authority.

Segev has been behind bars since his arrest in the Ben Gurion International Airport in April 2004 over involvement in an alleged international Ecstasy drug smuggling scheme that Israeli and Dutch police said involved millions of shekels.

Segev and his two alleged accomplices, Moshe Verner and Ariel Friedman, were charged in May 2004 with plotting to smuggle drugs. Verner committed suicide by hanging himself in his prison cell last November.

Segev's attorneys tried to convince court that he was unaware of the contents of the M&M candy packets he had received from the Netherlands which he was supposed to import to Israel.

During his trial, Segev was also charged with attempting to fraudulently receive NIS 20,387 and with credit card fraud, all under aggravated circumstances.

Police expressed Sunday their satisfaction with the plea bargain.