‘Discreet’ beautician, 29, among 5 charged with spying for Russia in UK
Award-winning beautician Vanya Gaberova, 29, is among five Bulgarian nationals living in the UK who have been accused of spying for Russia
Four others charged include Orlin Roussev, 45, Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, Katrin Ivanova, 31, and Ivan Stoyanov, 31
Gaberova has been spying for at least two-and-a-half years, UK’s Crown Prosecution Service said Thursday
People who knew her as the “very gentle and polite” boss of the “Pretty Woman” salon in west London are left in shock
The Bulgarian nationals are suspected of working in a spy cell that conducted surveillance on targets in the UK and Europe on behalf of Russia’s security services between Aug. 2020 and Feb. 2023
Award-winning beautician Vanya Gaberova, 29, is among five Bulgarian nationals living in the UK who are facing trial, accused of spying for Russia. Gaberova was arrested in February under UK’s Official Secrets Act.
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.
Gaberova was arrested in February under the Official Secrets Act. A CPS statement said she had been spying for at least two-and-a-half years.
Shocked acquaintances described the aesthetician as the “very gentle and polite” boss of the “Pretty Woman” salon in west London.
“She was very timid, discreet,” Tiago Nogueria, the manager of a Portuguese restaurant across the street from the salon, told the UK paper.
“I wouldn’t have suspected her of being a spy but if she was, she was a good one.”
Vanya Gaberova who has won a number of awards while running her salon was described by acquaintances as the “very gentle and polite” boss of the “Pretty Woman” salon in west London
Prosecutors on Thursday announced that Gaberova along with four other Bulgarian nationals, Orlin Roussev, 45, Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, Katrin Ivanova, 31, and Ivan Stoyanov, 31, were in custody, charged with conspiracy to conduct espionage.
Gaberova is an award winning high end beauty salon operator. In 2019, the glamorous brunette scooped up two prizes at the Grand Balkan Lash and Brow Championships.
Orlin Roussev is also charged with conspiracy to conduct espionage
Gaberova also won awards in Russia’s Beauty Battle competition in 2020 and picked up 15 prizes for lash work at the 2020 Ukrainian Lash and Brown Championships.
Roussev, Dzhambazov, and Ivanova had already been charged in February with being in possession of false identity documents, officials said.
During a court appearance in July, prosecutors said that searches of properties in London and Norfolk associated with the trio of suspects had turned up 34 ID cards, some of which were suspected to be falsified, from the UK, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece and the Czech Republic.
Another Bulgarian national Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, [photo], is also facing charges.
The arrests followed an investigation by the London Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command.
The Bulgarian nationals are suspected of working in a spy cell that conducted surveillance on targets in the UK and Europe on behalf of Russia’s security services between between Aug. 30, 2020 and Feb. 8, 2023.
One of their operations allegedly took place in Montenegro and involved the creation of forged documents for journalists, including one featuring a photo of Ivanova, reported BBC News.
Roussev was said to be the leader of the spy ring who allegedly ran espionage operations out of a guesthouse in Great Yarmouth and passed the gathered intelligence to his handlers in Russia.
Katrin Ivanova, 31, [photo] was among the four other Bulgarian nationals charged by British authorities for spying activities on behalf of Russia’s secret service
Roussev has lived in the UK since 2009 and previously worked in financial services, before starting a business specializing in the interception of electronic signals, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Dzhambazov and his girlfriend Ivanova moved to the UK from Bulgaria a decade ago and shared a home in Harrow.
Dzhambazov made a living as a driver for hospitals, while Ivanova worked as a laboratory assistant for a medical business.
London-based award winning beautician Vanya Gaberova [photo], has been spying in the UK and Europe on behalf of Russia for at least two-and-a-half years, the CPS said
The pair also ran a community organization helping fellow Bulgarian expatriates.
All five suspects are due to appear at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
Last November, Britain’s domestic spy chief said more than 400 suspected Russian spies had been expelled from Europe, striking the “most significant strategic blow” against Moscow in recent history.
British police have previously charged three Russians, who they say are GRU military intelligence officers, with the 2018 attempt to murder former double agent Sergei Skripal with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok.