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A GROUP who allegedly hid behind their suburban lives in Britain to spy for Russia have appeared in court today.
The three men and two women are accused of conspiring to commit espionage following a major Met Police investigation.
Orlin Roussev, 45, Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, Katrin Ivanova, 31, Ivan Stoyanov, 31, and Vanya Gaberova, 29, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court today.
The group allegedly conspired to gather information that would be useful to an enemy between August 2020 and February this year.
They are accused of working in an operational spy cell for the Russian security services.
The five defendants were arrested under the British Official Secrets Act following raids on properties in London and Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
They spoke only to confirm their names, dates of birth and addresses when they appeared via video-link this morning.
The group was remanded into custody ahead of a hearing at the Old Bailey on October 13.
Last month it emerged Dzhambazov and Ivanova had lived an unsuspecting life in Britain for ten years.
Dzhambazov has reportedly worked as a hospital driver, while Ivanova worked as a private sector laboratory assistant.
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The pair would visit their neighbours with pies and cakes as gifts and were popular figures in their community in Harrow, North London.
They were previously charged alongside Roussev with possession of false identity documents with "improper intention".
Gaberova meanwhile is an award-winning beautician who ran a salon called Pretty Woman in Acton, West London.
Nick Price, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, today said: “The CPS has authorised a charge of conspiracy to conduct espionage against three men and two women suspected of spying for Russia.
“Orlin Roussev, 45, Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, Katrin Ivanova, 31, Ivan Stoyanov, 31, and Vanya Gaberova, 29, will be charged with 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 30 August 2020 and 8 February 2023.
“Roussev, Dzhambazov, and Ivanova were previously charged on 11 February 2023 with possession of false identity documents with improper intention under section 4 of the Identity Documents Act 2010.
“The charges follow an investigation by the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command."
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