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Biggest ever gold-heist in Canada, multiple suspects detained

In April 2023, the accused stole 6,600 gold bars worth Can$20 million ($15 million) from the cargo holding facility at Toronto's Pearson International Airport

A year later, six persons have been detained, and three additional arrest warrants have been filed for suspects in a gold robbery at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport’s cargo facility in April 2023, according to AFP.

Termed as “the greatest gold heist in Canadian history” by officials, little of the stolen 6,600 gold bars worth Can$20 million ($15 million) has been recovered, it added. Further, Can$ 2.5 million in foreign banknotes was also stolen in the same heist.

“This story is sensational, and we jokingly say it belongs in a Netflix series,” Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah told Bloomberg.

According to officials, the suspects include two former Air Canada airport employees and the owner of a jewelry business, making this a “inside job”. One of the alleged ex-employees had already given investigators a tour of the cargo area.

Police have identified the suspects as Toronto men ranging in age from 25 to 54. According to a US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms officer, the getaway driver is also facing charges in the United States for possessing 65 illegal firearms, according to the AFP story.


Speaking to reporters in Brampton, Duraiappah claimed that this was an inside job “carefully planned by a well-organized group of criminals.”

Peel Police recovered Can$430,000, which they believe was obtained from the sale of some of the gold, as well as six poorly produced gold bracelets for an estimated Can$89,000. The search for the remaining gold remains ongoing.

A Swiss bank hired Brink’s Co. to transport the valuables from Zurich, Switzerland to Toronto, who in turn arranged for Air Canada to fly the valuables into the country. The gold weighing 400 kg was brought and securely offloaded at the cargo holding facility at Toronto Airport.

What Happened on April 17, 2023?

A Swiss bank engaged Brink’s Co. to carry the goods from Zurich, Switzerland to Toronto, which then arranged for Air Canada to airlift the valuables into the nation. The 400 kilograms of gold was transported to and securely unloaded at Toronto Airport’s cargo holding facility.

According to a Bloomberg article, Detective Sergeant Mike Mavity stated that around 6.30 p.m., a man driving a truck appeared at the loading dock with a phony air waybill to claim it. Airway bills are needed to trace overseas shipments, and this one was a duplicate of the previous day’s fish shipment.

When Brink’s employees arrived three hours later to collect the goods, they were informed that it was missing.

Nine suspects have been identified, and the hunt for three is still ongoing. The former Air Canada employee, Parmpal Sidhu (54) was arrested and charged with theft of more than C$5,000 ($3,620) and conspiracy to commit an indictable offense.

Simran Preet Panesar (31), another ex-employee, is facing the same charges but has yet to be arrested.

The others identified are Amit Jalota (40), Ammad Chaudhary (43), Ali Raza (37), Prasath Paramalinga (35), Archit Grover (36), Arsalan Chaudhary (42), and get-away driver Durante King-Mclean (25).

Brinks Co. and Air Canada have been involved in a legal dispute since October 2023. The former has taken legal action against the nation’s major airline, accusing it of “negligence and carelessness.” Air Canada, in reaction, has denied the allegations.

According to an AP story, in a statement of defense dated November 8, Air Canada disputed all charges made by Brinks in their complaint, claiming that it fulfilled its contractual commitments and disputing any notion of unlawful activity.

Furthermore, Air Canada claimed that Brinks omitted to include the amount of the shipment on the waybill. It also highlighted the Montreal Convention, a multinational convention that limits its culpability if Brinks suffers losses.

Brinks filed lawsuits in federal court seeking millions of dollars in damages for breach of contract, according to the AP article. The business claims that a “unidentified individual” entered Air Canada’s cargo facility and produced a “fraudulent” waybill immediately after an Air Canada flight from Zurich arrived at Pearson Airport. According to Brinks’ statement, the warehouse workers then delivered 400 kilograms of gold in 24 bars and roughly $2 million in cash to the culprit, who then fled with the shipment.

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