Five alleged Russian spies appear in London court

LONDON (Reuters) – Five Bulgarian nationals accused of being part of a Russian spying network in Britain appeared by videolink for a brief hearing at a London court on Friday.

The three men and two women are accused of conspiring “to collect information intended to be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy for a purpose prejudicial to the safety and interest of the state” between Aug. 30, 2020 and Feb. 8, 2023.

Orlin Roussev, 45, Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, Katrin Ivanova, 31, Ivan Stoyanov, 31, and Vanya Gaberova, 29, all Bulgarian nationals who lived in London and Norfolk, were arrested by counter-terrorism police in February this year.

They appeared briefly at London’s Old Bailey court, speaking only to confirm their name and age.

They were remanded in custody until Nov. 20, when there will be a hearing to decide whether to join a separate case involving Roussev, Dzhambazov, and Ivanova, who have also been charged with identity document offences.

Prosecutors accuse the five defendants of being part of an organised network which had carried out surveillance and hostile action on behalf of Russia against specific targets, including for potential abductions.

(Reporting by Michael Holden, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)