Uk Prosecutors Charge A 6Th Bulgarian National With Spying For Russia

LONDON (AP) — British authorities on Tuesday charged another Bulgarian national living in England with conspiring with five other compatriots to spy for Russia.

The group of six, who are all in custody, are alleged to be part of a network conducting surveillance on behalf of Russia. Much of the activity took place abroad, but coordination took place in the U.K., prosecutors said.

Tihomir Ivanchev, 38, was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday on a charge of conspiracy to conduct espionage between August 2020 and February 2023.

He lived in west London, according to the Metropolitan Police.

The five other Bulgarians — three men and two women — were arrested last year on an identical charge of “conspiring to collect information intended to be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy,” namely Russia.

The suspects were accused of conspiring with Jan Marsalek, an Austrian national who is not charged in the case, and "others unknown.”

Marsalek was the former chief operating officer of German payment systems provider Wirecard, which collapsed in 2020 in a fraud scandal. Marsalek, considered a key figure in that scandal, has been on the run since the summer of 2020 and his whereabouts are unknown.

The other five — Orlin Roussev, 46, Bizer Dzhambazov, 42, Katrin Ivanova and Ivan Stoyanov, both 32, and Vanya Gaberova, 29 — face a trial in October estimated to last four months.

Roussev, Dzhambazov, and Ivanova had previously been arrested in February on suspicion of having false identification documents. During a court appearance in July, prosecutors said they had 34 ID documents, some of which were suspected to be false, from the U.K., Bulgaria, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece and the Czech Republic.