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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Israeli ex-minister in drugs bust
Israel's former Energy Minister Gonen Segev, centre, at the Tel Aviv district tribunal on Thursday, 22 April
Gonen Segev, centre, denies the charges
A former Israeli minister has been arrested on attempted drug trafficking charges.

Dutch police say 25,000 ecstasy tablets were found in a package which Gonen Segev is alleged to have stowed in a locker at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

Mr Segev is alleged to have tried to use a diplomatic passport with a falsified date in it to avoid the airport security checks.

Mr Segev, who denies the charges, was energy minister under Yitzhak Rabin.

His lawyer is quoted by the AP news agency as saying a friend had asked Mr Segev, a 48 year-old doctor, to take a gift of chocolates back to Israel.

Israeli police spokesman Gil Kleiman said they had been investigating Mr Segev and the two other people arrested with him for some time.

"On two different occasions he arrived at the airport in Holland," he said.

"On both occasions there was suspicion he had in possession illegal chemical substances.

"He was asked to open his bag, he showed a diplomatic passport with an invalid date. He refused to open the bag. In both cases he left the airport."

Mr Segev is reported to have placed the suspicious bag in a locker in Schiphol Airport, before continuing onto his flight to Israel.

He was arrested in Israel once the Dutch authorities had confirmed the bag contained the thousands of ecstasy tablets.

Mr Segev was remanded in custody for a week when he appeared on Thursday at a Tel Aviv magistrates court.

Israeli police reportedly keeps an officer permanently in the Netherlands due to attempts by Israeli drug rings to smuggle narcotics from Western Europe.

Israeli police flee drug fumes
23 Jan 04  |  Middle East

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