Three ‘Russian spies’ who lived in UK for a decade and baked cakes for neighbours charged in national security sting

15 August 2023, 12:17 | Updated: 15 August 2023, 13:08

Orlin Roussev, Bizer Dzhambazov and Katrin Ivanova have been charged
Orlin Roussev, Bizer Dzhambazov and Katrin Ivanova have been charged. Picture: Facebook/LinkedIn

By Kit Heren

Three people living in the UK who are suspected of spying for Russia have been arrested and charged as part of a major national security investigation.

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The three suspected spies, who are all Bulgarian, were arrested in February and have been in police custody since then.

Orlin Roussev, 45, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, of Harrow, north-west London and Katrin Ivanova, 31, of the same address in Harrow, have been charged with "possession of false identity documents with improper intention".

That includes passports and identity cards for the UK, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, and the Czech Republic, the BBC reported.

Roussev is said to have worked with Russia for several years. He moved to the UK in 2009, and has worked in financial services.

Read more: Spying by undercover Met Police officers on left-wing groups was 'unjustified', inquiry finds

Read more: 'They had no mercy': British woman falsely accused of being a spy detained in 'appalling' conditions by Turkish police

Katrin Ivanova
Katrin Ivanova. Picture: LinkedIn
Orlin Roussev
Orlin Roussev. Picture: .
Bizer Dzhambazov,
Bizer Dzhambazov,. Picture: Facebook

He says on LinkedIn that he has owned a business involved in signals intelligence - intercepting electronic communications.

Dzhambazov and Ivanova moved to the UK ten years ago. Dzhambazov worked as a hospital driver and Ivanova worked as a private sector laboratory assistant.

They ran a community group that helped their fellow Bulgarians get used to the "culture and norms of British society".

The three were arrested under the Official Secrets Act, along with two other people, police confirmed.

They are remanded, and are next due to appear at the Old Bailey on a future date yet to be fixed, officers said.

But officers did not comment on whether the three Bulgarians were accused of being Russian spies.

Dzambazov and Ivanova
Dzambazov and Ivanova. Picture: Facebook

It comes after a court heard that a Scottish security guard at the British embassy in Berlin, who admitted gathering secrets about the UK to spy for Russia, was driven by an “intention to harm the UK".

David Ballantyne Smith pleaded guilty to eight charges under the Official Secrets Act last year but returned to court for legal argument about his motivation.

Smith, from Paisley, Scotland, is alleged to have received a "substantial" amount of money in exchange for confidential and sensitive information while working as a security guard at the British embassy in Berlin.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan KC said that Smith was "motivated by a deliberate intention to harm the United Kingdom".

More than 400 suspected Russian spies who had been operating under diplomatic cover have been expelled from Europe, the director-general of MI5 said last year.

Richard Moore said: "We reckon in the UK that has probably reduced their ability to do their business to spy for Russian in Europe by half."

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