Three individuals believed to be Russian spies have been held and charged in a significant development on the UK’s national security investigation front, the BBC reported.
The suspects, all of Bulgarian nationality, were taken into custody in February and have remained detained since. Allegedly working for the Russian security services, they are charged with possessing identity documents with “improper intention”, and alleged to have had these knowing they were fake.
These documents encompass passports, ID cards, and various credentials from several countries, including the UK, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, and the Czech Republic.
Counter-terrorism detectives from the Metropolitan Police, responsible for national espionage policing, arrested the three alleged spies under the Official Secrets Act.
The individuals facing charges are Orlin Roussev (45), residing in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk; Bizer Dzhambazov (41) and Katrin Ivanova (31), both from Harrow, north-west London. These suspects have resided in the UK for an extended period, holding multiple jobs and residing in suburban properties.
Roussev has had business connections in Russia and previously occupied roles involving technical aspects of financial services. His LinkedIn profile indicates involvement in signals intelligence, related to communications interception. He once advised the Bulgarian Ministry of Energy.
In Harrow, Dzhambazov and Ivanova were known as a couple. Dzhambazov worked as a driver for hospitals, while Ivanova served as a laboratory assistant for a private health business, supporting Bulgarian citizens abroad and acquainting them with British culture.
The suspects’ arrest has led to public speculation, echoing concerns of rising state threats and espionage, particularly linked to Russia. The UK has witnessed high-profile incidents, including the 2018 poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, and the death of Dawn Sturgess due to exposure to Novichok, a deadly nerve agent.
The defendants are scheduled to face trial at the Old Bailey in London in January, with their plea hearings pending. The case underscores ongoing challenges posed by espionage threats and the continual efforts by authorities to safeguard national security.