The Bulgarians who were Detained for Espionage in Favor of Russia posed as Journalists in the UK

Crime | August 16, 2023, Wednesday // 15:12|  views

The three Bulgarian citizens arrested in Great Britain for espionage for Russia remain in custody. Their remand is expected to be heard at the end of September, and they will appear in court in January next year.

Bulgarians Orlin Rusev, Biser Jambazov and Katrin Ivanova were arrested in February together with two other persons who were later released. British media reveal new details about the activities on the Island of the three detainees.

"Putin's spies arrested in Britain", "Russian spies from Northolt ring detained", "Bulgarians suspected of spying for Russia" and "The spy who lives next door" are the front pages of almost all British media today.

The subject of the arrested Bulgarians is a leading one for the newspaper "Times", according to which Orlin Rusev, Biser Jambazov and Katrin Ivanova also presented themselves as journalists. During a search of the home of one of the detainees, fake press cards and clothing were found, with the help of which they posed as employees of two popular American documentary television channels. The publication quoted its sources from Scotland Yard, according to which, disguised as a TV crew, the three collected information in various locations in London, as well as in Germany and Montenegro.

The 45-year-old Rusev, who is known to be a former adviser to the Bulgarian Ministry of Energy, had business relations in Russia, and is the owner of a company for tracking communication and electronic signals, is named as the "brain" of the operation. He was detained at a guest house in Great Yarmouth. It was searched thoroughly and there was a noticeable police presence around it for days, as well as testimony for the BBC from a neighbor.

"There was a huge tent. I thought: Oh, someone's been killed? Terrible! There were people coming and going all the time. Civilian police. They were all wearing black masks."

During a search of the house, funds for making fake identity documents were found. The site is just a kilometer from Northolt Air Force Base, the airport frequently used by British ministers, foreign delegations and members of the British royal family.

According to a former MI-5 officer, the Bulgarians were probably part of a "support network" in the relevant criminal scheme, to which they may have been complicit, but were not key figures.

"Usually the cases we hear about in the media involve professional intelligence officers who are sent and working under diplomatic cover, in an embassy or a trade delegation or something like that. If they are exposed, they have diplomatic immunity. So they are quietly kicked out of the UK and not prosecuted. But in this case, we seem to have three very low-level operatives. The charges are very specific, they only relate to false identity documents. So in theory they may have acted as a support network, providing things to others who may have worked in intelligence."

British media, including the BBC and Sky News, report that the detention measure for the three Bulgarians is expected to be reviewed at the end of September. The case against them is due to start in January. At the moment, they have pleaded neither guilty nor not guilty.

According to British law, if found guilty of falsifying documents, they can face up to 10 years in prison. Endangering national security, which includes espionage for the benefit of an enemy state, is punishable by up to 14 years behind bars.

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Tags: Bulgarian, spies, Russia, british


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