UK

Sixth person charged with allegedly spying for Russia

Tihomir Ivanov Ivanchev is to appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

St Basil’s Cathedral, in Moscow’s Red Square
St Basil’s Cathedral St Basil’s Cathedral, in Moscow’s Red Square (Ian Nicholson/PA)

A sixth person has been charged with allegedly spying for Russia, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

Tihomir Ivanov Ivanchev, 38,  has been charged with conspiring to obtain, collect, record, publish or communicate documents or information which might be or was intended to be directly or indirectly useful for a purpose prejudicial to the safety and interest of the state.

Scotland Yard said that Ivanchev,  of Acton, west London, is to appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Ivanchev, a Bulgarian national, was arrested on February 7  as part of an ongoing investigation being led by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.

Commander Dominic Murphy, who leads the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “A sixth suspect was identified and arrested as a result of inquiries made following the previous five arrests in this investigation, and working with the Crown Prosecution Service, a charge has now been brought.

“Mr Ivanchev has the right to a fair trial, and we would therefore urge people not to publish anything, on social media or in news media, that creates a substantial risk of seriously prejudicing these active criminal proceedings.”

It means there are now “active” criminal cases against people following an investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, Nick Price, the head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division said.

He will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court
Westminster Magistrates’ Court stock He will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court

The other defendants, three men and two women, have previously appeared at the Old Bailey accused of conspiring to gather information that would be useful to an enemy between August 2020 and February 2023.

They are Orlin Roussev, 46, Bizer Dzhambazov, 42, Katrin Ivanova, 32, Ivan Stoyanov, 32, and Vanya Gaberova, 29, who were 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.

Their trial is to be heard  in October by a High Court judge with an estimated time of four months.

On Tuesday, Mr Price said: “Criminal proceedings against the six individuals are active and they each have the right to a fair trial.

“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.

“The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for a criminal court to consider.”