Belgian citizen arrested by Shin Bet for spying for Iran

Arrested Belgian suspect reveals to his interrogators that he was promised by Iran some $1 million to spy on Israel.

By Gili Cohen


Israel has arrested a Belgian citizen of Iranian extraction on suspicion that he was sent by the Iranian intelligence agency to spy for the Islamic Republic.

Ali Mansouri

Alex Mans, formerly Ali Mansouri, in Tel Aviv. – Photo by Courtesy

The suspect, Alex Mans, was arrested by the Shin Bet security service and Israel Police at Ben-Gurion International Airport on his way out of Israel. The arrest took place two weeks ago but the information was not made public until Sunday.

Mans was born in 1958, as Ali Mansouri, and lived in Iran until 1980, according to Israeli security officials.

Mansouri's photo of US Embassy in Tel Aviv

Mansouri’s photo of US Embassy in Tel Aviv

As the Belgian citizen Alex Mans, the suspect visited Israel in July 2012, January of this year and, in his most recent visit, earlier this month. Shin Bet officials said they suspect Mans was trying to develop business ties with businesspeople in Tel Aviv on behalf of the Iranian intelligence services.

Mans told his Israeli interrogators that he moved from Iran to Turkey, where he lived from 1980 to 1997. That year he received a Belgian visa, where he expanded his business dealings. Nearly a decade later, he married a Belgian citizen and changed his name to make it less distinctly Iranian.

He later got divorced and flew around the world, living alternately in Iran, Turkey and Belgium. In 2007 he moved back to Iran and married an Iranian woman.

Mans told the Shin Bet that in early 2012 he was asked to spy on Israel and was promised about $1 million to do so. He later received various assignments, including to forge business ties and sign deals with Israeli businesspeople, which would ensure him continued access to Israel.


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