Spectacular theft: a simple email was enough to seize $14 million in silver bullion

A fake email containing a valuable pickup code that was supposed to be secret is all the thieves needed to steal around $14 million in silver bullion in Montreal in 2020.

• Read also: Silver bars stolen from Montreal discovered in Toronto

• Read also: A theft of 600 ingots worth $10 million

“This case has all the elements of an Agatha Christie thriller. High value stolen cargo, safe place [et] several possible suspects, ”wrote Judge Kevin Alto of the Federal Court in Toronto, visibly intrigued.

A complex legal debate is currently aimed at establishing which company among the eight carriers involved is responsible for the failed delivery of 18,000 kg of silver bullion. It also allows us to better understand how this mysterious theft, still unsolved, of the cargo, valued at the time at more than 10.2 M$ US, or nearly 14 M$ CAD, could have taken place.

In December 2019, a company purchased 596 silver bars from Korea Zinc, which were to be delivered to New York.

Each ingot was stamped

Photo courtesy, SPVM

Each ingot was stamped “Korea Zinc” and had a serial number.

Brink’s, a specialist in secure transport, had therefore been mandated to transport the precious cargo from Busan, South Korea, to New York via Canada.

To make matters more complex, a series of subcontractors were then delegated to deliver the goods to their destination. The container ship arrived in British Columbia on January 7, 2020.

The day before, the shipowner had emailed the collection code to another company, Binex, whose only role was to receive this code to give it to Brink’s.

“Binex was the party to be contacted for the release of the goods”, is it written in the judgment. It is an email and its distribution that are the subject of police investigations, indicates the magistrate.

Disappeared in Montreal

Loaded onto a CN car, the container then headed for Montreal, where it arrived on January 16.

Four days later, trucking company Oriental Cartage received an email from monica@delmardistribution.ca in order to pick up the cargo in a marshalling yard.

The email, now proven to be fraudulent, still contained the correct secret code to enable pickup, the container number and its weight.

The ingots were in these barrels placed in a container.

Photo courtesy, SPVM

The ingots were in these barrels placed in a container.

This allowed the trucker to leave the yard without a problem to deliver the ingots to a warehouse in LaSalle.

The shipment has never been seen since, with the exception of small amounts of silver found in Toronto, British Columbia and Massachusetts.

The judgment does not indicate what means of investigation were taken by the authorities to try to find the ingots from LaSalle.

While the criminal investigation has stalled for nearly three years, some companies involved in the failed transport of the 596 bars are fighting in court to determine who should absorb the loss.

Whose fault is it ?

That’s what Brink’s, responsible for shipping the cargo, is trying to do.

Another company involved, Woowon, which has no office in Canada, wants the dispute to be decided in a Korean court. Last April, the Federal Court in Toronto ruled that it had jurisdiction.

This week, the Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge’s decision.

This complex debate, tangled up in several international laws, will therefore be heard in Canada.

And meanwhile, the thieves of this daring scheme are still running.

Toronto police have no new information to release in this ongoing investigation.

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