Former Minister Gonen Segev Held Luxembourg Bank Account

Zvi Harel
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Zvi Harel

Former minister Gonen Segev, who is on trial for attempting to smuggle drugs into Israel, has an account containing $200,000 in a Bank Hapoalim branch in Luxembourg, the Tel Aviv District Court learned yesterday.

Segev and two other defendants were remanded without bail following charges of conspiring to smuggle 32,000 Ecstasy tablets from the Netherlands to Israel.

The account came to light when Segev's attorney, Lior Epstein, asked to withdraw $50,000 from it on behalf of his client in order to cover his legal costs. Judge Ruth Lev Har-Hasharon ruled that the request was moot, as the state had announced that it planned to freeze Segev's accounts.

Epstein claimed that Segev did not withhold information on the existence of the Luxembourg account from the police, and indeed had made a point of noting that both he and his family are financially dependent upon fund transfers from this account to accounts in Israel. Epstein therefore requested that the state cancel its freeze on the Luxembourg account.

Segev told the court that the funds in the Luxembourg account were the fruit of work he carried out in China for businessman Shaul Eisenberg.

Segev is also facing charges of aggravated credit card fraud and attempting to fraudulently obtain NIS 20,387, for which he was indicted in the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on June 28.

According to that indictment, while Segev was on a trip to Hong Kong last year from November 12-19, he had his ex-wife telephone the Isracard company on November 15 to report that he no longer had his Platinum MasterCard because it was lost or stolen and to cancel the card. On November 20, after returning to Israel, Segev said that he had been pickpocketed on November 14 while withdrawing cash in Hong Kong and had not seen his card since. But the prosecution says that he made six withdrawals the same day - which Segev denies.

The prosecution says the crime was aggravated because Segev's status as a former cabinet minister enhanced his credibility in the eyes of Isracard employees.