An award-winning beautician based in west London is among five people to be charged over suspected spying for Russia.
Vanya Gaberova, 29, will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday alongside Orlin Roussev, Bizer Dzhambazov, Katrin Ivanova and Ivan Stoyanov.
The Bulgarian nationals are accused of conspiring to gather information that would be useful to an enemy between August 2020 and February this year.
Gaberova, from Acton, reportedly ran a business called Pretty Woman and was a judge at eyelash competitions.
Nick Price, head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)’s Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, 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 August 30 2020 and February 8 2023.”
Dzhambazov and Ivanova are from Harrow in north-west London and Stoyanov is from Greenford, west London. Roussev is from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
The charges follow an investigation by the London Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command.
Roussev, Dzhambazov, and Ivanova had already been charged in February with identity document offences, the CPS said.
During a court appearance in July, prosecutors said they had 34 ID documents, some of which were suspected to be false, from the UK, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece and the Czech Republic.
They are all due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, September 26.
The UK has been seeking to take tougher action on external security threats and potential spies. In July a national security law was passed aiming at overhauling its means of deterring espionage and foreign interference with new tools and criminal provisions.
At the time, the government labelled Russia as “the most acute threat” to its security.
Last year, MI5 Director General Ken McCallum said more than 400 suspected Russian spies had been expelled from Europe, striking the "most significant strategic blow" against Moscow in recent history.