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16/08/2023 | UK charges three Bulgarians with spying for Russia in ¨major national security¨ case

Joseph Fitsanakis

AUTHORITIES IN BRITAIN HAVE charged three Bulgarian nationals with spying for Russia, as part of “a major national security investigation” that led to at least five arrests as early as last February.

 

Two of the Bulgarians appear to be legally married. They have been identified as Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, and Katrin Ivanova, 31, who live in Harrow, a northwestern borrow of Greater London. The third Bulgarian, Orlin Roussev, 45, was arrested in Great Yarmouth, a seaside town in the east coast identity dof England. None of the suspect appears to have a formal diplomatic connection to either Bulgaria or Russia.

The Bulgarians were reportedly arrested in February of this year by the Counter-Terrorism Command of the Metropolitan Police, whose law enforcement mandate includes working on counterespionage cases. Two other individuals who were arrested at the time have not been charged or named. The three suspects have been charged under Section 4 of the United Kingdom’s Identity Documents Act 2010, which prohibits the possession of fake identity documents with “improper intention” and with the owner’s knowledge that they are fake. According to British government prosecutors, the suspects possessed forged passports and identity cards for Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia.

Dzhambazov and Ivanova are believed to have moved to the United Kingdom as a couple in 2013. Both worked in the British healthcare sector —Ivanova as a laboratory assistant for a private company and Dzhambazov as a driver for a hospital. Roussev moved to the United Kingdom in 2009 and worked on the technical side of the financial services industry. He claims to have worked as an adviser for the Ministry of Energy of Bulgaria. He also claims to have previously owned a private company that operated in the area of signals intelligence (SIGINT), which involves the interception of electronic communications.

Bulgaria was one of the Soviet Union’s closest allies during the Cold War. Relations between Bulgaria and Russia plummeted in the 2000s, but pro-Russian sentiments continue to survive among some nationalist segments of the Bulgarian electorate. In June of this year, Kiril Petkov, the leader of Bulgaria’s We Continue the Change party, which today backs Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, Nikolai Denkov, spoke publicly about “Moscow-backed agents” operating inside Bulgaria’s intelligence services. Petkov proposed an ambitious plan to reform the Bulgarian intelligence services in order to “diminish the influence of Russia”. He proposed to do this through the administration of “integrity and ethical tests” to intelligence personnel.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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