Simran Panesar Former Air Canada Manager Wanted in $22.5M Gold Heist to Surrender

Authorities claim Panesar resigned from his position last summer and subsequently vanished.

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In a dramatic turn of events, the former Air Canada manager accused of being involved in Canada’s largest gold heist is set to surrender himself to authorities. Simran Preet Panesar, who has been on the run since last summer, is wanted in connection with the April 2023 theft of over $22 million in gold from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

simran preet panesar warrant
simran preet panesar warrant

Panesar faces multiple charges, including theft over $5,000. His lawyer, Greg Lafontaine, shared Panesar’s trust in the Canadian judicial process. “He is very confident in the Canadian justice system. When this prosecution is over, he will have been absolved of any wrongdoing,” Lafontaine stated to CBC News.

Authorities claim Panesar resigned from his position last summer and subsequently vanished. This April, charges were brought against him and eight other individuals. According to Lafontaine, Panesar immediately sought legal counsel upon learning about the charges. Lafontaine then notified the police and Crown prosecutor that Panesar intends to return to Canada voluntarily within the next few weeks.

“He is anxious to have an opportunity to demonstrate his absolute innocence,” Lafontaine asserted, adding that Panesar is currently “tidying up his affairs abroad in preparation of his return to Canada.”

Due to safety concerns, Lafontaine did not disclose Panesar’s current location. However, CBC News of Canada has been investigating the possibility that Panesar has been residing in India with his wife, Preety Panesar, who is not suspected of involvement in the heist.

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Preety, a former Miss India Uganda, is a singer and actor. The couple had been releasing music videos under the Muzik Karma Records label while living in Canada. Before the heist, Simran Panesar was attempting to break into the Punjabi entertainment industry alongside his wife. Promotional materials suggest their involvement in a film scheduled for release in 2022 called *Zeba*.

In interviews on YouTube, Preety credits Simran for helping launch her career. Last year, she mentioned to a Punjabi entertainment reporter that a new film was set to begin shooting in September, with hopes for a December release. Just days before her husband was charged, Preety posted photos and videos from a photoshoot in Chandigarh, a city in northern Punjab. Despite numerous attempts, CBC News could not reach her for comment.

In response to these contact attempts, Simran Panesar sent a brief message to a CBC News reporter via a WhatsApp business account linked to an Indian phone number. He did not respond to any further questions.

The heist involved the theft of 400 kilograms of pure gold and approximately $2.5 million in various foreign currencies from Pearson’s cargo compound. A man driving a five-tonne delivery truck gained entry to the warehouse using a legitimate airway bill, which detailed a shipment that had arrived on a flight from Zurich. The gold and cash were then loaded onto the truck, which drove away without raising suspicion.

Police have arrested several individuals and filed 19 charges related to the heist. Peel police Det.-Sgt. Mike Mavity revealed that the suspect accessed an Air Canada storage facility with an airway bill initially used for a seafood shipment the previous day, which had been duplicated within the Air Canada facility.

When Peel Regional Police announced the charges, Panesar and two other suspects were unaccounted for, prompting the issuance of Canada-wide warrants. In May, one of the men, Archit Grover, was arrested at Pearson Airport after arriving on a flight from India. The other, Arsalan Chaudhary from Mississauga, Ontario, remains at large.

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