A "TIMID" alleged Russian spy worked as a glamorous eyelash expert in a suburban London beauty parlour.
Vanya Gaberova, 29, is the youngest member of an alleged spy ring made up of Bulgarian nationals.
Locals in Acton, West London have told how the "eyelash extension specialist" was an unlikely candidate for a spy working on behalf of Vladimir Putin's Russian regime.
One restaurant owner told the Telegraph: "If she was a spy, she was a good one."
Gaberova is one of five Bulgarians charged yesterday with "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."
They're said to have worked as alleged spies between August 2020 and February this year.
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But Gaverova is said to have lived a quiet life in west London with her partner, a decorator and "big guy", according to Tiago Nogueria.
The manager of Portuguese restaurant Villamoura – opposite Gaberova's shop Pretty Woman – said: "She was very timid, discreet.
"I wouldn’t have suspected her of being a spy but if she was, she was a good one. I knew her for two or three years and I never expected that."
Gaberova won prizes at the Grand Balkan Lash and Brow Championship in 2019 for her classic lashes and 2/3D volume.
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Photos posted on social media show her posing with a trophy and a certificate.
One trophy was displayed at her West London beauty salon, which she ran before her arrest in February.
She was rounded up with three men and another woman following a joint Met Police and MI5 investigation.
A couple, Bizer Dzhambazov, 41, and Katrin Ivanova, 31, of Harrow, North West London, were initially charged along with Orlin Roussev, 45, of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, with possession of false documents.
Gaberova and boyfriend Ivan Stoyanov, of Greenford, West London, were bailed.
Announcing the charges, Nick Price, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said all five were “suspected of spying for Russia”.
Mr Price said “Roussev, Dzhambazov, and Ivanova were previously charged on 11 February 2023 with possession of false identity documents with improper intention”.
The five will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
Her salon remained open yesterday with one female employee working there.
Gaberova, whose business is called VG Pretty Woman Ltd, apparently studied at Bulgaria’s University of National and World Economy.
Her biography for the 2020 Ukrainian Lash and Brow Championships lists her as winning 15 individual awards for eyelash work.
Another post claimed she had been “trained by the world’s best trainers” and started her career in 2016.
Other posts — since deleted from her Facebook account — boasted of her role as a judge in the Golden Top world lash championships.
She won awards in Russia’s Beauty Battle in 2020 for 2D lashes volume and 3D volume.
Her social media profile claims she enjoys “travelling, cooking, shopping, walking, and reading”.
It is suspected the spy ring also carried out surveillance operations on sensitive sites in Germany and Montenegro.
Cops discovered fake documents, including passports and driving licences, where Roussev was living and allegedly found forged press cards.
There was also clothing for the Discovery and National Geographic TV channels.
Neighbours of Dzhambazov and Ivanova said the couple lived in the area for around ten years.
The married couple are said to have called over to neighbours in Harrow, north-west London, with gifts of cakes and pies.
Price has 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 30 August 2020 and 8 February 2023.
"Roussev, Dzhambazov, and Ivanova were previously charged on 11 February 2023 with possession of false identity documents with improper intention under section 4 of the Identity Documents Act 2010.
"The charges follow an investigation by the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command.
"Criminal proceedings against the five individuals are active and they each have the right to a fair trial.
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"It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.
"The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for a criminal court to consider."
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