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Saturday 25 May, 2024
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Vanya Gaberova, charged with spying for Russia in UK

BY Anas Shah Sep 22, 2023. 06:48 pm

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A gorgeous beautician who owned the “Pretty Woman” salon in London is one of five Bulgarian nationals convicted with spying for Russia in the UK.

Vanya Gaberova, 29, is accused of “conspiring to collect information intended to be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy for a purpose prejudicial to the safety and interests of the state,” according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the United Kingdom.

The CPS said she had been spying for at least two and a half years, surprising many who knew her as the “very gentle and polite” manager of the “Pretty Woman” salon in west London.

A glamorous beautician who ran a London salon called “Pretty Woman” is among five Bulgarian nationals being charged with spying for Russia in the UK.

Vanya Gaberova, 29, is among a group accused of “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,” the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Thursday.

She was spying for at least two-and-a-half years, the CPS said — shocking those who knew her as the “very gentle and polite” boss of the “Pretty Woman” salon in west London.

Vanya Gaberova

Gaberov was arrested in February on suspicion of violating the Official Secrets Act. Prosecutors charged her and four people — Orlin Roussev, 45, Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, Katrin Ivanova, 31, and Ivan Stoyanov, 31 — with conspiracy to conduct espionage on Thursday.

In addition to running the salon, the suspected spy received several accolades.

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In 2019, the stunning brunette won two awards at the Grand Balkan Lash and Brow Championships.

Gaberova also took home awards in Russia’s Beauty Battle competition in 2020, as well as 15 lash trophies in the 2020 Ukrainian Lash and Brown Championships.

Officials claimed Roussev, Dzhambazov, and Ivanova were accused with possessing fraudulent identification documents in February.

During a July court appearance, prosecutors stated that searches of properties associated with the trio of suspects in London and Norfolk had turned up 34 ID cards, some of which were suspected to be forged, from the UK, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, and the Czech Republic.

The arrests came after a counter-terrorism investigation by the London Metropolitan Police.

The Bulgarians are suspected of being members of a spy cell that conducted surveillance on targets in the United Kingdom and Europe on behalf of Russia’s intelligence services between August 30, 2020 and February 8, 2023.

One of their alleged activities took place in Montenegro and entailed the manufacture of falsified documents for journalists, including one with a photo of Ivanova, according to reports.

According to his LinkedIn page, Roussev has been in the UK since 2009 and previously worked in financial services before launching a business specializing in the interception of electronic signals.Dzhambazov and his fiancée Ivanova immigrated to the United Kingdom from Bulgaria a decade ago and shared a property in Harrow.

Dzhambazov worked as a hospital driver, while Ivanova worked as a laboratory assistant for a medical company.

They also managed a communal group that assisted other Bulgarian expats.

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On Tuesday, the five suspects are scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.

Last November, Britain’s domestic spy head announced the expulsion of more than 400 alleged Russian agents from Europe, calling it the “most significant strategic blow” against Moscow in recent history.Three Russians, allegedly GRU military intelligence agents, have previously been accused by British authorities with attempting to murder former double agent Sergei Skripal with the military-grade nerve toxin Novichok in 2018.

 

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