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Alleged network of spies for Russia appear at the Old Bailey

The three men and two women were arrested in February for offences contrary to the Official Secrets Act.

A group of alleged Russian spies have appeared at the Old Bailey accused of an offence under the Official Secrets Act.

The five Bulgarian nationals were all living at addresses in England when they allegedly carried out surveillance to help the Russian state.

The three men and two women were arrested in February for offences contrary to the Official Secrets Act.

They are charged with plotting to gather information that would be useful to an enemy “for a purpose prejudicial to the safety and interest of the state” between August 30 2020 and February 8 2023.

Bulgarian nationals spying court case
Bulgarian nationals (left to right) Katrin Ivanova, Vanya Gaberova, Orlin Roussev, Ivan Stoyanov and Bizer Dzhambazov (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

The defendants are: Orlin Roussev, 45, of Princes Road, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk; Bizer Dzhambazov, 42, and Katrin Ivanova, 31, both of High Road, Harrow, north-west London; Ivan Stoyanov, 31, from Bannister Close, Greenford, west London; and Vanya Gaberova, 29, from Churchfield Road, Acton, north-west London.

It is alleged they were part of a “network” conducting surveillance on behalf of the Russian state.

A large part of their activities happened abroad but co-ordination took place in the UK, it is claimed.

The defendants are accused of conspiring to collect information with “another person known as Jan Marsalek and others unknown”.

Mr Marsalek was the Austrian former chief operating officer of the company Wirecard and is said to be wanted in Germany.

On Friday the five defendants, who all have EU settled status, appeared at the Old Bailey before Mr Justice Jeremy Baker for a preliminary hearing.

The women were at Bronzefield jail and the male defendants appeared by videolink from Belmarsh, Frankland and Manchester prisons.

They spoke only to confirm their names and dates of birth during the short hearing, at which they were all represented by barristers.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan KC estimated that any trial in 2024 would take about six weeks, although barristers for the defence suggested it could take longer.

Mr Justice Baker set a further hearing at the Old Bailey on November 10 and remanded the defendants into custody.

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