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Five Bulgarian nationals to be charged in UK with spying for Russia

Five people suspected of spying for Russia are to be charged with conspiracy to conduct espionage – reports BBC News in the UK.

Orlin Roussev, Bizer Dzhambazov, Katrin Ivanova, Ivan Stoyanov, and Vanya Gaberova will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

The Bulgarian nationals are accused of conspiring to gather information which would be useful to an enemy between August 2020 and February 2023.

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It follows an investigation by the Metropolitan Police.

The defendants are alleged to have worked in an operational spy cell for the Russian security services and this work involved conducting surveillance on targets.

They are accused of working on active operations in the UK and Europe and collecting and passing information to the Russian state.

Mr Roussev, 45, is alleged to have run operations from the UK and acted as the link to those who received the intelligence.

Officers who searched properties in London and Norfolk occupied by three of the defendants – Mr Roussev, Mr Dzhambazov, 41, and Ms Ivanova, 31 – found allegedly fake passport and official identity documents for the UK, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, and the Czech Republic.

Some of the documents contained photographs of Mr Roussev and Mr Dzhambazov. It is alleged Mr Roussev made forgeries himself.

The group are also accused of organising a surveillance operation in Montenegro which involved the creation of fake identification cards for journalists, including one in the image of Ms Ivanova.

Mr Roussev, Mr Dzhambazov, and Ms Ivanova have lived in the UK for years, working in a variety of jobs, and living in a series of suburban properties.

Mr 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 LinkedIn profile states he later owned a business involved in signals intelligence, which involves the interception of communications or electronic signals.

Mr Roussev, whose most recent address is a seaside guesthouse in Great Yarmouth, also states he once acted as an adviser to the Bulgarian ministry of energy.

In Harrow, former neighbours 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 organisation 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.

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