Former Wirecard executive allegedly linked to Russian spy ring

Jan Marsalek was named on Tuesday as the connection between Bulgarians who live in the UK and have been accused of spying for Russia.

German authorities suspect Marsalek in Moscow. He left Austria in a private jet for Minsk in June 2020 when Wirecard filed insolvency.

Five Bulgarians, three men and two woman, were remanded into custody on Tuesday after they appeared via video link in Westminster magistrates court in London.

The five are accused of conspiring over a three-year period to gather information for the Russian government. Prosecutor Kathryn Selby outlined the charges to the court and alleged that all five defendants had carried out surveillance and information-gathering on targets from several locations on behalf of the Russian state.

The targets, it was claimed, were located outside of the UK. It was also alleged that the spying was done on behalf a man named “Jan Marsalek”, a person who hasn’t been charged.

Orlin Rudev, 45, is from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. Bizer Dzhambazov (41), from Harrow in north London, Katrina Ivanova (31) from Harrow and Ivan Stoyanov (31) from Greenford are also from north London.

Selby claimed that Roussev’s house was the “operational hub” for the alleged espionage.

The five defendants have been jointly charged with conspiring between August 30, 2020 and February 8, 2023 to gather information that would be useful directly or indirectly to an enemy, for a purpose detrimental to the security and interests of the state.

Roussev Dzhambazov Ivanova had been charged with possessing false identity documents in February 2023 under section 4 Identity Documents Act 2010

The defendants only spoke to confirm their dates of birth and names.

Tanweer Ikram told the five defendants at Westminster Magistrates’ Court that their case will now be sent to London’s Old Bailey on October 13 for an hearing.