Home Explainer Air Canada Employee Among 6 Held, Year After Canada’s Biggest Gold Robbery

Air Canada Employee Among 6 Held, Year After Canada’s Biggest Gold Robbery

Authorities in Canada and the US have arrested six people and three more are being sought in connection with what they called the largest gold heist in Canadian history—a cargo of over C$22 million ($16 million) in gold and currency.

The suspects, including two Air Canada employees, forged an airway bill to steal a cargo arriving from Switzerland of 6,600 gold bars weighing 400 kg (882 pounds) and C$2.5 million in foreign currency, police officials said.

Speaking exactly one year after the heist, which took place at an Air Canada cargo facility at the Toronto Pearson International Airport, Peel regional police at a press briefing named the nine suspects and detailed the 19 charges they face.

Five suspects were arrested in Canada and released on bail pending trial. One suspect, originally from Brampton, Ontario, was arrested in Pennsylvania along with firearms and remains in custody in the United States. Canada-wide warrants have been issued for the remaining three suspects, police said.

Air Canada said it had suspended one cargo division employee charged in the theft while the other, who worked in the same department at the time of the heist, had left the airline before the charges were announced.

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“As this is now before the courts, we are limited in our ability to comment further,” Air Canada said in a statement.
Investigators from the Peel regional police, working with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, recovered one kg of gold (2.2 pounds) and about C$434,000 in Canadian currency.

“We believe that they’ve melted down the gold and then the profits they got from the gold, they used to help finance the firearms,” Detective Sergeant Mike Mavity said.

Police also recovered some 65 firearms that investigators allege were purchased with the proceeds from the theft.

Following the heist, Miami-based transport and security services provider Brinks sued Air Canada in October, alleging “negligence and carelessness” by the airline. Brinks had been hired by Swiss bank Raiffeisen Schweiz and precious metals refining company Valcambi to move the valuables from Zurich to Toronto.

With inputs from Reuters