Five Bulgarians Charged in UK for Alleged Russian Espionage Activities

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Five individuals, accused of espionage on behalf of Russia, are now facing charges in the UK for their alleged conspiracy to perform acts of spying. The accused individuals are all Bulgarian nationals, known as Orlin Roussev, Bizer Dzhambazov, Katrin Ivanova, Ivan Stoyanov, and Vanya Gaberova. Their arraignment before a judge is set for next Tuesday at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Based on the investigation carried out by the Metropolitan Police, these individuals have actively been conspiring to compile information of advantage to an enemy state from August 2020 to February 2023.

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The charges include allegations of their operational involvement within a spy cell working for Russian security services, conducting surveillance on certain targets, and engaging in active operations across the UK and Europe, all with the ultimate aim of collecting and transmitting intel to the Russian state.

Roussev, aged 45, is reportedly in charge of the operations in the UK, acting as the primary liaison with the intelligence recipients. Searches carried out in properties at London and Norfolk that Roussev, Dzhambazov (41), and Ivanova (31) resided in, resulted in the discovery of purportedly counterfeit passports and ID documents from a multitude of countries, including but not limited to the UK, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, and the Czech Republic. Pictures of Roussev and Dzhambazov were found among these documents, along with allegations that Roussev himself produced these forgeries.

There are also accusations that the group organized a surveillance assignment in Montenegro. This entailed creating bogus journalist ID cards, including one featuring the image of Ivanova.

Having resided the UK for numerous years, Roussev, Dzhambazov, and Ivanova held different jobs and lived in diverse suburban locales. Roussev, in particular, carries a background of business transactions with Russia. After emigrating to the UK in 2009, he worked for three years in a technical role in financial services. His LinkedIn account suggests ownership of a business that specializes in signals intelligence — a field featuring the interception of communications or electronic signals. Roussev also claims to have served as an adviser to the Bulgarian ministry of energy. He claims a seaside guesthouse in Great Yarmouth as his latest address.

The thread extends to Dzhambazov and Ivanova living as a couple in Harrow, according to some former neighbors. Dzhambazov worked as a hospital driver and Ivanova, a laboratory assistant for a private health business, as per her LinkedIn profile. Together, they ran a community organization that assisted Bulgarian compatriots, helping them adopt the “culture and norms of British society”.

Lastly, 29-year-old Gaberova, an accomplished beautician and proprietor of the ‘Pretty Woman’, also adjudicated in eyelash competitions.