Five to be charged in UK with spying for Russia
Charges of conspiracy to engage in espionage are set to be brought against five individuals suspected of spying for Russia. Orlin Roussev, Bizer Dzhambazov, Katrin Ivanova, Ivan Stoyanov, and Vanya Gaberova are scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
These Bulgarian nationals stand accused of plotting to gather information that could be valuable to an adversary during the period between August 2020 and February 2023. The investigation leading to these charges was conducted by the Metropolitan Police.
The defendants are alleged to have operated within a covert spy cell on behalf of the Russian security services, with their activities involving surveillance of specific targets. They are further accused of actively participating in operations across the UK and Europe, as well as collecting and transmitting information to the Russian state.
Orlin Roussev, aged 45, is said to have overseen operations from the UK and served as the liaison to those receiving the intelligence.
During searches of properties occupied by three of the defendants in London and Norfolk – namely Mr. Roussev, Mr. Dzhambazov (aged 41), and Ms. Ivanova (aged 31) – purportedly counterfeit passports and official identity documents for various countries, including the UK, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, and the Czech Republic, were discovered.
Some of these documents contained photographs of Mr. Roussev and Mr. Dzhambazov, with allegations that Mr. Roussev himself produced forgeries.
Additionally, the group is accused of orchestrating a surveillance operation in Montenegro, which involved the creation of fraudulent identification cards for journalists, including one using Ms. Ivanova’s likeness.
Mr. Roussev, Mr. Dzhambazov, and Ms. Ivanova have resided in the UK for several years, working in diverse roles and residing in various suburban residences. Mr. Roussev has a history of business dealings in Russia, having relocated to the UK in 2009 and subsequently working in a technical capacity in the financial services sector.
His LinkedIn profile indicates that he once owned a business engaged in signals intelligence, a field involving the interception of communications or electronic signals. Furthermore, Mr. Roussev states that he previously served as an advisor to the Bulgarian Ministry of Energy.
In Harrow, former neighbors described Mr. Dzhambazov and Ms. Ivanova as a couple.
Mr Dzhambazov is described as a driver for hospitals and Ms Ivanova describes herself on her LinkedIn profile as a laboratory assistant for a private health business.
The pair, who moved to the UK around a decade ago, ran a community organization providing services to Bulgarian people, including familiarising them with the “culture and norms of British society”.
According to Bulgarian state documents online, they also worked for electoral commissions in London which facilitate voting in Bulgarian elections by citizens living abroad.