Suspect in Canada's largest gold heist to surrender

FILE PHOTO: Arrests made one year after gold was stolen from Toronto Pearson airport

By Saadeq Ahmed

TORONTO (Reuters) - A former Air Canada manager who is wanted for his alleged role in a $20 million gold heist, the largest in Canadian history, is preparing to turn himself, his lawyer told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp on Friday.

Simran Preet Panesar faces charges in connection with the April 2023 theft from Toronto's Pearson airport.

His lawyer, Greg Lafontaine, told CBC that Panesar was out of the country but did not say where. Lafontaine said he had informed authorities that Panesar planned to return to the country voluntarily within the next few weeks to surrender.

"He is anxious to have an opportunity to demonstrate his absolute innocence," Lafontaine said.

Lafontaine told CBC that Panesar was very confident in the justice system and that "when this prosecution is over, he will have been absolved of any wrongdoing."

Police said in April they had arrested six people and were looking for three more.

The suspects, including two Air Canada employees, are accused of forging 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.

Lafontaine's office said he was not able to comment further.

Police said earlier this month that they had arrested and charged Archit Grover, another individual allegedly involved in the gold heist.

(Editing by David Ljunggren and Cynthia Osterman)