Air Canada rejects blame in $23-million gold theft from Pearson Airport in Mississauga

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Published November 20, 2023 at 3:18 pm

Air Canada says it's not liable for lost gold in Pearson Airport gold heist

Air Canada says it bears no responsibility for the daring theft of more than $23 million in gold and cash from its facilities at Pearson Airport in Mississauga earlier this year.

The airline is facing a lawsuit from U.S.-based security services company Brink’s after a thief walked away with the costly cargo from an Air Canada airport warehouse on April 17 shortly after an incoming flight from Switzerland carrying the gold and money had landed.

The brazen theft garnered immediate headlines around the world and captured the attention and imagination of the public as it was described as perhaps being the largest heist in Canadian history.

In a statement of defence, Air Canada has rejected all allegations in the Brink’s suit, saying it fulfilled its carriage contract and denying any careless or improper conduct.

The country’s largest airline goes on to say that Brink’s failed to note the value of the haul on the waybill — a document typically issued by a carrier with details of the shipment — and that if Brink’s did suffer losses, a multilateral treaty known as the Montreal Convention would cap Air Canada’s liability.

In Federal Court filings last month that claim breach of contract and millions of dollars in damages, Brink’s said an unidentified individual gained access to the airline’s cargo warehouse and presented phoney paperwork about 40 minutes after an Air Canada flight from Zurich had landed at Pearson.

The statement of claim says staff then handed over 400 kilograms of gold in the form of 24 bars — currently worth about $21.1 million — plus nearly US$2 million in cash to the thief, who promptly absconded with the cargo.

The Brink’s statement of claim says a pair of Swiss companies — precious metals refinery Valcambi SA and retail bank Raiffeisen Schweiz — contracted it to provide security and logistics for the pricy packages and compensate them for any losses.

(Cover photo: The Canadian Press)

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