A 31-year-old Indian-origin former Air Canada manager, Simran Preet Panesar, implicated in Canada’s largest gold and cash heist worth CAD 22.5 million, is set to surrender in the coming weeks, his lawyer announced.
Panesar, reportedly confident in the Canadian justice system, has decided to return voluntarily to clear his name. The stolen cargo, which had arrived on an Air Canada flight from Zurich, Switzerland, was misplaced after being moved to another location on the airport property.The missing items were reported to the police the following day.
Lawyer Greg Lafontaine, representing Panesar, emphasized his client’s belief in his innocence and readiness to face the charges. “When this prosecution is over, he will have been absolved of any wrongdoing,” Lafontaine in a statement quoted by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News.
Canada-wide warrants were issued for Panesar, a former Air Canada employee, who engaged lawyer Lafontaine upon learning of the charges.
Lafontaine said, “He is anxious to have an opportunity to demonstrate his absolute innocence.”
Simran Preet Panesar’s location remains undisclosed for his safety as he prepares to return to Canada.
Panesar’s lawyer reiterated their proactive engagement with law enforcement and prosecutorial authorities to arrange his voluntary return.
“He is tidying up his affairs abroad in preparation for his return to Canada,” Lafontaine remarked.
The heist occurred on April 17 last year when an air cargo container holding gold bars and foreign currency was stolen from a storage facility using fake paperwork at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
The stolen cargo contained 6600 bars of 99.99% pure gold, weighing 400 kilograms, valued at over 20 million dollars and an additional 2.5 million Canadian dollars worth in foreign currency.In a previous statement, the police mentioned that investigators confiscated one kilogram of gold valued at around 89,000 Canadian dollars, suspected to be from the theft, along with smelting equipment, and about 434,000 Canadian dollars in currency.
Police have made several arrests in connection with the heist, including Indian-origin people. Six suspects, among them Indian-origin Archit Grover, were apprehended at Toronto’s airport as he arrived from India. Grover, Parmpal Sidhu, 54, and Amit Jalota, 40, both from Ontario, along with Ammad Chaudhary, 43, Ali Raza, 37, and Prasath Paramalingam, 35, face related charges, as per a PTI report.
Further actions are underway as Peel Regional Police remain committed to following all leads to locate outstanding suspects. The police confirmed retrieving part of the loot and detailed the heist’s logistics involving 6,600 bars of .9999 pure gold, weighing 400 kilograms, worth about CAD 20 million, and CAD 2.5 million in foreign currency.