UK accuses sixth man of spying for Russia

UK accuses sixth man of spying for Russia

British police have charged a sixth person with alleged links to a Russian spy network operating in the United Kingdom. Dihomir Ivanov Ivanchev, a Bulgarian national, was arrested earlier this month and is awaiting a court appearance this Wednesday.

The 38-year-old, from Acton, London, was charged with “conspiracy to collect information useful directly or indirectly to the enemy”. Five other Bulgarian nationals, Arlin Roussev, Baysar Zambazov, Katrin Ivanova, Ivan Stoyanov and Vanya Khaberova, are already facing similar charges and are due to go on trial in October. Authorities allege that between August 2020 and February 2023, surveillance was conducted on individuals and locations of interest to Russia.

Details of charges and arrests

According to the indictment, Ivanchev acted together with five other defendants, one person identified as Jan Marsalek and others, “to directly or indirectly obtain, collect, record, publish or communicate useful documents or information” to the enemy for the purpose of harming the security and interests of the state.

Commander Dominic Murphy of the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism unit said Ivanchev's identification and arrest resulted from investigations following five previous arrests in connection with the case. Ivanchev was released on bail after his first arrest on February 7 and the charge sheet was filed on Tuesday.

Who are the accused?

Ivanchev is a beautician in London and, according to records, lived at the same address as Kebarova, an award-winning beautician who specializes in eyelashes and runs the Pretty Woman salon in London. Stoyanov, nicknamed “The Destroyer”, is a mixed martial artist who has competed in numerous tournaments in the United Kingdom.

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Marsalek, who was not charged in the case, was known as the former chief operating officer of Wireguard, who became a wanted man in Germany on suspicion of fraud. He reportedly left Germany in 2020 and was in Russia. Rusev is believed to have received instructions from Marsalek from abroad.

Investigations are ongoing and the center of espionage operations in England is believed to have been a guest house in Great Yarmouth, now closed and occupied by Rusev.

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