site.btaSofia City Prosecution Office, SANS Take Action to Establish Activities of Bulgarians Accused of Spying for Russia in UK
The Sofia City Prosecution Office and State Agency National Security (SANS) have taken action to establish the activities of the five Bulgarian nationals accused of spying for Russia and detained by UK authorities in February, as well as of other Bulgarian citizens located on Bulgarian territory who are directly related to the case, the Sofia City Prosecution Office said in a press release on Tuesday.
Pre-trial proceedings for espionage were initiated by the State Prosecution Office (SPO) in March 2023 and SANS was tasked with carrying out certain actions regarding the case.
The joint work with the British partners is essential in the process of countering criminal violations affecting Bulgaria's national security and the country's international standing, SPO pointed out. In the process of pre-trial proceedings, the prosecution and the SANS are in direct contact with the British partners, it added.
The three men and two women are charged with conspiracy to collect information intended to be directly or indirectly useful to the enemy with intent to harm the security and interests of the state. Their activities took place between August 30, 2020 and February 8, 2023, Reuters reported earlier on the day.
The five Bulgarian nationals living in London and Norfolk were arrested in February and accused of being part of an organized network which carried out surveillance on named targets for the benefit of Russia.
The purpose of the surveillance was to help Moscow carry out operations to harm those targets, including potential kidnappings, the BBC noted.
No request for bail was made and the five remained in custody. They will next appear at a hearing at London's Old Bailey Court on October 13. Three of the accused have already been charged with identity-related offences and are expected to appear before the same court on Thursday to answer those charges.
The UK has sought to take tougher action against foreign security threats and potential spies and in July passed a national security law aimed at reviewing the means of deterring espionage and foreign interference. London then described Russia as the most serious threat to its security.
So far, there has been no comment from the Russian embassy on the charges against the Bulgarians, Reuters added.