Tue, Mar 05, 2013 - Page 14 News List

FBI to help Singapore probe death of US engineer


The FBI will assist Singapore police in a probe into the death of a US research engineer in the Asian city-state.

Singaporean police have asked Shane Todd’s family to share any evidence they may have related to his death, they said, adding that the family could also hand the evidence over to the FBI if they are uncomfortable dealing with Singaporean investigators.

“As there has so far been no response to this request, [the] Singapore Police Force has sought the FBI’s assistance to engage the family and for [the] FBI to examine the evidence,” the police said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Todd worked at the Institute of Microelectronics (IME), a research unit of the Singaporean state-run Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

Media outlets, including the Financial Times, have reported that Todd’s family suggested that his death may be connected to a project the institute was working on with China’s Huawei Technologies Co (華為).

“The Singaporean authorities have requested FBI assistance regarding the death of Shane Todd,” said Eric Watnik, spokesman for the US embassy in Singapore, in an e-mailed statement. “The FBI will comply with the request.”

The probe will continue to be led by Singaporean police, whose request is focused on issues within the US, Watnik said.

“[The] Institute of Microelectronics approached Huawei on one occasion to cooperate with them in the GaN [gallium nitride] field, but we decided not to accept and consequently do not have any cooperation with IME related to GaN,” Huawei said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Huawei’s research relates only to civil and commercial uses of telecommunications technology, not military uses, the firm said.

The Institute of Microelectronics did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the probe into Todd’s death.

Both the institute and Todd were not involved in any classified research project, the institute said on Feb. 19. The institute did not go beyond preliminary talks with Huawei on pursuing a commercial project and has never worked with the Chinese company on gallium nitride amplifiers, it said at the time.

The US embassy on Feb. 16 said that while the FBI is following the case closely, it must be invited by a foreign government before it can handle any investigations overseas.

The US offered the FBI’s assistance to Singapore in the probe of Todd’s death and has engaged in “frequent discussion” with the city-state’s government regarding the case, the embassy said at the time.

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