A new book on the “Prisoner X” affair reportedly reveals new accusations against the deceased former Israeli spy Ben Zygier.
Zygier, a dual citizen of Australia and Israel, committed suicide in an Israeli prison after his arrest for espionage-related charges that have never been fully revealed. He had formerly served in Israel’s Mossad spy service.
According to the new book by Raphael Epstein, a Jewish Australian journalist, Zygier gave Israeli secrets to an Iranian businessman he knew from his days as a student in Australia’s Monash University.
Epstein, who knew Zygier personally, claims that while Zygier did not have a senior role in Israel’s undercover activity vis-à-vis Iran, he worked for an Italian company involved in projects in Africa and the Middle East, had been to Tehran, and had considerable knowledge regarding the Mossad’s efforts in Iran.
Zygier’s Iranian acquaintance reported back to Tehran, and Zygier’s superiors realized what had happened and summoned him back to Israel, where he was arrested, Epstein says.
Zygier was held in a high-security prison under an alias. Despite near-constant supervision, he managed to kill himself in late 2010. The affair was not revealed until 2013, and aroused considerable controversy when it went public.
There have been various rumors about Zygier’s alleged crimes. Among other things, the former Mossad agent is said to have revealed information to Australia’s security services, to have leaked sensitive information to Hezbollah, to have unwittingly sabotaged a top-secret mission, and to have threatened to go public with Israel’s use of foreign passports for Mossad agents.