Five Bulgarians charged with spying on behalf of Russia while living in UK

Five people from Bulgaria have been charged with spying on behalf of Russia while living in the UK. They are set to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on September 26.

Orlin Roussev, Bizer Dzhambazov, Katrin Ivanova, Ivan Stoyanov, and Vanya Gaberova are all accused of conspiring to gather information the Kremlin would find "useful". The information was allegedly gathered between August 2020 and February 2023.

Roussev, Dzhambazov and Ivanova allegedly falsified identity documents. According to the Metropolitan Police, who are leading the case, they had identity documents for the UK, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, and the Czech Republic.

Nick Price, head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)’s Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: "The CPS has authorised a charge of conspiracy to conduct espionage against three men and two women suspected of spying for Russia.

“Orlin Roussev, 45, Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, Katrin Ivanova, 31, Ivan Stoyanov, 31, and Vanya Gaberova, 29, will be charged with conspiring to collect information intended to be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy for a purpose prejudicial to the safety and interest of the state between August 30 2020 and February 8 2023.

"Roussev, Dzhambazov and Ivanova were previously charged on February 11 2023 with possession of false identity documents with improper intention under section 4 of the Identity Documents Act 2010."

Roussev, Dzhambazov and Ivanova have lived in the UK for years, working in a variety of jobs and living in a series of suburban properties. Roussev has a history of business dealings in Russia. He moved to the UK in 2009 and spent three years working in a technical role in financial services. His online LinkedIn profile states he later owned a business involved in signals intelligence, which involves the interception of communications or electronic signals.

Dzhambazov is described as a driver for hospitals, and Ivanova describes herself on her online LinkedIn profile as a laboratory assistant for a private health business. According to Bulgarian state documents online, they also worked for electoral commissions in London which facilitate voting in Bulgarian elections by citizens living abroad.

The five were all arrested by the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Command in February under the Official Secrets Act.

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