Bulgarian embassy ‘not informed’ of UK holding three nationals for allegedly spying for Russia

The Bulgarian embassy in London had not been informed by authorities in the UK that they had taken into custody three Bulgarian nationals suspected of spying for Russia, ambassador Marin Raykov told Bulgarian media on August 15.

“Unpleasant as it is, we learn of the detention of these three of our citizens in February from the BBC. My hypothesis is that this is mainly due to the reluctance of the detainees themselves to inform Bulgarian citizens, including the embassy,” Raykov said.

The BBC reported on August 15 that the defendants, all Bulgarian nationals, were held in February and have been remanded in custody since. It is alleged they were working for the Russian security services.

The report said that the three – Orlin Roussev, 45, Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, and Katrin Ivanova, 31, had been living in the UK for years.

Raykov told Bulgarian National Television that according to British practice, if the detainees themselves, on arrest, do not want the Bulgarian diplomatic services to be informed, then that would not happen.

He told Nova Televizia: “The only thing I can say is that in the database we have, the woman – Katrin Ivanova, appears as a member of the election commission in 2021”.

A statement on August 15 by the Prosecutor’s Office, responding to the reports about the British investigation into the three, said that the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office was conducting an investigation regarding espionage.

The pre-trial proceedings were initiated in March 2023, the statement said.

In order to establish the criminal activity, joint actions are being taken with the State Agency for National Security.

“Due to the nature of the pre-trial proceedings and the fact that it involves classified information, no further details can be provided at this stage,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

(Photo: Bulgarian embassy London)

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