UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – The BBC has uncovered a significant national security investigation that has led to the arrest and charging of three individuals suspected of being Russian spies in the UK.
These defendants, who are all Bulgarian nationals, were apprehended in February and have been held in custody ever since.
They are facing charges related to the possession of identity documents with malicious intent, as it is believed that they knowingly possessed counterfeit documents.
According to allegations, these individuals were operating on behalf of the Russian security services.
The Suspects Documents Are Seized
The range of documents seized includes passports, identity cards, and various other official papers from countries such as the UK, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, and the Czech Republic.
It is worth noting that these three individuals were part of a group of five individuals arrested in February under suspicion of violating the Official Secrets Act. Counter-terrorism detectives from the Metropolitan Police, responsible for national policing of espionage, have detained a group of individuals who are scheduled to answer police bail in September.
In February, three of them were charged with an offense under the Identity Documents Act. The individuals facing charges are as follows:
– Orlin Roussev, aged 45, residing in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
– Bizer Dzhambazov, aged 41, residing in Harrow, north-west London.
– Katrin Ivanova, aged 31, residing at the same Harrow address.
Three Individuals Are Held In Custody
Currently, they are being held in custody and are expected to appear at the Old Bailey at a later date. These three individuals have been living in the UK for several years, engaging in various occupations and residing in suburban properties.
Mr. Roussev has a history of business dealings in Russia and relocated to the UK in 2009. He spent three years working in a technical role within the financial services sector. According to his online LinkedIn profile, he later became the owner of a business specializing in signals intelligence, which involves intercepting communications or electronic signals.
Mr. Roussev, currently residing in a seaside guesthouse in Great Yarmouth, also claims to have served as an advisor to the Bulgarian Ministry of Energy.
Former neighbors in Harrow have described Mr. Dzhambazov and Ms. Ivanova as a couple.
Mr. Dzhambazov worked as a driver for hospitals, while Ms. Ivanova identified herself as a laboratory assistant for a private health business on her online LinkedIn profile.
Having moved to the UK approximately ten years ago, the couple operated a community organization that offered various services to Bulgarian individuals, including helping them adapt to British culture and societal norms.
Bulgarian State Documents Reveal Concrete Information About The Suspects
According to online Bulgarian state documents, they were also employed by electoral commissions in London, facilitating voting in Bulgarian elections for citizens residing abroad.
In an interview, residents living in the two houses previously occupied by the couple revealed that they had kindly brought over pies and cakes as gestures of goodwill.
At their most recent residence in Harrow, neighbors reported a significant police presence for over a week as detectives thoroughly searched the property. The three defendants are scheduled to stand trial at the prestigious Old Bailey in London this coming January. As of now, they have not entered pleas to the charges brought against them.
Counter-terrorism authorities have publicly expressed their growing concerns regarding suspected threats and espionage activities, particularly those linked to Russia.
These concerns have arisen due to a series of notorious incidents involving Russian intelligence operations within the United Kingdom in recent years.
Russians Operatives Attempted A Murder
One such incident occurred in 2018 when Russian operatives attempted to assassinate former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Wiltshire, using the lethal nerve agent Novichok. Both victims, along with Detective Nick Bailey who responded to the incident, were hospitalized and faced the risk of losing their lives.
In the same year, tragedy struck when Dawn Sturgess, a local woman with no connection to the Skripals, lost her life after being exposed to a deadly nerve agent. This lethal substance had been concealed in a perfume bottle and left in Wiltshire.
Another shocking incident occurred in 2006, when Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian intelligence officer, met his untimely demise in London. He fell victim to a poisoning orchestrated by assassins operating under the orders of the Russian state.