Bulgarian prosecutors open investigation into group of nationals suspected of spying on Britain for the Russians as probe will look into whether suspects tried to influence elections in their home country by helping expats in the UK cast votes
Bulgarian prosecutors have opened an investigation into a group of nationals suspected of spying on Britain for the Russians.
The Balkan nation’s electoral commission is also looking into whether the suspected spies sought to influence elections by helping expats cast votes in their homeland from the UK.
Orlin Roussev, 45, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, along with Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, and Katrin Ivanova, 32, of Harrow, north-west London were arrested under the Official Secrets Act but at the moment have only been charged under the Identity Documents Act.
A 31-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman, both from London, were also arrested in February and remain under investigation.
The Sofia prosecutor’s office confirmed it was conducting an espionage investigation alongside the nation’s counter-intelligence service.
The trio, all suspected of being spies on behalf of Russia, lived at addresses across the UK
Bizer Dzhambazov (left) and Ivanova have been held in custody and are suspected of working for Russia
Dzhambazov and Ivanova were both registered at the same address in Harrow, north London
And Rositsa Mateva, from the Bulgarian Central Election Commission, said it was working to establish whether the individuals were working with specific political parties.
‘At the moment, the Central Election Commission (CEC) is conducting an investigation and cannot provide unambiguous information,’ she added.
Dzhambazov and Ivanova ran a community organisation providing services to Bulgarians, including familiarising them with the ‘culture and norms of British society’.
Bulgarian state documents also list them as working for electoral commissions in London which help expats to vote in Bulgarian elections.
The development comes as London-based medical firm Doctor’s Laboratory confirmed that Ivanova worked for the company from 2021 as a lab assistant.
Partying: Katrin Ivanova, right, is seen dancing at a Bulgarian restaurant in Palmers Green, north London
Ivanova (circled) can be seen holding hands in a party circle at the Bulgarian restaurant in 2015
The pair appeared alongside Roussev at the Old Bailey on July 31.
They have yet to enter pleas to the charges and are remanded in custody.
The trio are accused of possessing 19 fake documents with ‘improper intention,’ including passports, identity cards and papers for the UK, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, France, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece and the Czech Republic.
Scotland Yard detectives also allegedly found forged press cards and branded clothing from the Discovery and National Geographic television channels.
Roussev is understood to have been arrested at a seaside guesthouse owned by a Bulgarian businesswoman.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘On 8 February 2023, officers from the Met’s Specialist Operations arrested five people on suspicion of an offence under the Official Secrets Act 1911.’
A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman added: ‘The CPS has authorised charges against Orlin Roussev, Biser Maicimov Dzhambazov, and Katrin Ivanova with possession of an identity document with improper intention, contrary to the Identity Documents Act.’
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