Paranoia and naiveté led a Syrian man to lie about why he was crossing the border into Surrey with nearly $1 million in gold and what’s been called “terrorist resources,” his lawyer said.

Khaled Nawaya, a flight instructor, is being held at a Vancouver-area detention centre as a “security threat” after Canada Border Services agents found $800,000 in gold coins and other currency in his car on Oct. 6.

“He didn’t want to be taxed on it,” lawyer Phil Rankin said.

“He should have gotten legal advice on that and just declared the money. Had he declared the money, that would probably be the end of the story.”

The 35-year-old faces the Immigration and Refugee Board today to learn whether authorities have grounds to keep him in custody.

Besides the gold, Canadian agents found a ring bearing the insignia of Hezbollah, which has been listed as a terrorist organization by the Canadian government since 2002.

They also seized 9-11 conspiracy theory-themed DVDs and a scarf adorned with the images of a former Israeli prime minister and a U.S. president depicted as monkeys.

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