February 25, 2024

After months of silence, the lawsuit paints the clearest image but of how April’s Pearson Airport gold heist was allegedly pulled off

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The shock Toronto airport heist of $20 million in gold bars — weighing 400.19 kilograms — together with US$2 million in money was as simple as strolling into Air Canada’s cargo facility, exhibiting a false waybill, and leaving with the large haul, based on a lawsuit filed in court docket.

It was gone 42 minutes after it was unloaded from a aircraft arriving from Switzerland and transferred to a supposedly safe warehouse on the periphery of Toronto’s Pearson airport, based on the assertion of declare.

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The theft, one of many largest in Canadian historical past, stays unsolved by police. Brink’s, a safe transport firm, is now suing Air Canada over the misplaced hundreds.

The lawsuit paints the clearest image but of how April’s airport gold heist was allegedly pulled off after months of institutional silence from police, the airline, and others concerned within the theft that made headlines around the globe.

In a press release of declare filed in Federal Courtroom and first reported by Glen McGregor on Substack, Brink’s says the cargo of gold and money was delivered to Air Canada in Zurich, a Swiss monetary centre, and loaded aboard Air Canada Flight AC881, a each day passenger and cargo flight to Toronto, on April 17.

Brink’s claims Air Canada offered woeful safety regardless of understanding the high-value contents of the load.

Not one of the allegations have been confirmed in court docket.

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Air Canada wouldn’t touch upon the lawsuit, the heist, or the allegations.

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“As that is matter now earlier than the courts, we’re unable to supply a remark,” mentioned Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for Air Canada. Earlier than it was a matter within the courts, the airline additionally declined to remark.

In April, a Swiss financial institution known as Raiffeisen Schweiz, employed Brink’s to move money — banknotes with a price of US$1,945,843, weighing 53.18 kilos — from Zurich to Toronto, based on Brink’s assertion of declare.

The cash, declared as “BANKNOTES”, was being shipped to the Vancouver Bullion and Forex Alternate, based on the lawsuit.

Across the identical time, Valcambi SA, a valuable metals refining firm in Switzerland, employed Brink’s to move 400.19 kilos of gold — valued at greater than $20.4 million — to Toronto.

The gold, declared as “GOLDBARS”, was being despatched to the Toronto Dominion Financial institution in Toronto, the swimsuit says.

The 2 shipments had been mixed into one air cargo container in regards to the dimension of a big workplace desk.

The aircraft landed at Toronto’s Pearson airport round 4:20 p.m. The delivery container was unloaded and moved to an Air Canada bonded warehouse on the fringe of the airport at about 5:50 p.m., the lawsuit claims.

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“At roughly (6:32 p.m.), an unidentified particular person gained entry to AC’s cargo storage services. No safety protocols or options had been in place to observe, prohibit or in any other case regulate the unidentified particular person’s entry to the services,” the lawsuit claims.

“As soon as inside, the unidentified particular person offered to AC personnel the copy of an airway invoice respecting an unrelated cargo.

“Upon receipt of the Fraudulent Waybill, AC personnel launched the Shipments to the unidentified particular person, following which the unidentified particular person absconded with the cargo,” the lawsuit claims.

“AC accepted the Fraudulent Waybill from the unidentified particular person with out verifying its authenticity in any means.

“Had AC made the mandatory and applicable inquiries within the circumstances, the unidentified particular person’s capability to steal the cargo entrusted to its care would have been completely averted,” based on the Brink’s declare.

Brink’s despatched the character of the cargo contents, their declared values, and flight data to Air Canada by e mail when reserving the cargo cargo, on or about April 14. The emails had been confirmed by Air Canada the identical day, based on the lawsuit.

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The gold and money had separate air waybills, marked: “BRINK’S SECURED AIRFREIGHT SPECIAL SUPERVISION IS REQUESTED VALUABLE CARGO,” based on the lawsuit.

Brink’s says it engaged the airline’s AC Safe program to ship the container. AC Safe advertises itself as offering “particular dealing with for high-value cargo, with safety as the best precedence.”

“AC Safe ensures the protected and safe transportation of particular commodities together with items with a declared worth of CAD/USD $1,000 per kilogram or extra, or when a shipper purchases insurance coverage in the identical quantity per kilogram, whatever the commodity,” its web site says.

Commodities utilizing AC Safe typically embrace gold, silver, gems, cash, watches, jewellery, shares and bonds.

AC Safe prices greater than common air shipments.

Brink’s transportation contract with the corporate means Brink’s took on accountability for the worth of the load if misplaced in transit.

Brink’s now seeks to redeem that loss from Air Canada.

The lawsuit accuses Air Canada of being “reckless in its operation of the AC Safe program” by failing to adequately safe the cargo.

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The lawsuit claims Air Canada failed to supply “storing services outfitted with efficient vaults and cages, fixed CCTV surveillance and lively human surveillance patrols.”

The swimsuit additionally claims Air Canada did not: sufficiently safe software program/{hardware} methods to forestall unauthorized transactions; guarantee worker credentials should not vulnerable to fraud or misuse; confirm the trustworthiness and correct coaching of personnel with entry to high-value shipments.

Brink’s claims damages of 13.6 million Swiss Francs, representing the declared worth of the lacking gold, and US$1,945,843, the worth of the lacking cash.

Brink’s additionally seeks particular damages of an unspecified quantity and prices of the authorized motion.

The lawsuit says that the corporate was notified in March of ongoing upgrades by Air Canada designed to “construct an improved course of” for AC Safe, together with “higher expertise enhancements, handovers and (an) improved tracing methodology.”

However, the swimsuit claims, the airline did not implement enhancements “correctly or in any respect.”

The lawsuit was filed in Federal Courtroom as a result of worldwide shipments are regulated by the Montreal Conference, a world treaty that’s included into Canadian legislation.

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The investigation by Peel Regional Police continues. No arrests have been introduced.

“We perceive the curiosity on this case,” mentioned Cont. Donna Carlson with Peel police.

“That is nonetheless a really lively ongoing investigation, and knowledge might be launched when investigators imagine it is not going to intervene with the investigation’s integrity. Right now, we now have no additional data to launch.”

Brink’s declined to remark previous to publication. TD Financial institution didn’t return messages for a request for remark. Valcambi SA and the Vancouver Bullion and Forex Alternate couldn’t be reached for remark.

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