Singapore asks US to help probe mystery hanging

The colonial-era corner shophouse at Spottiswoode Park Road which deceased American Shane Todd lived in.

SINGAPORE - Singapore is seeking US assistance in probing the mysterious death of an American scientist reportedly involved in a project for a Chinese telecoms firm seen as a security risk by Washington.

Police confirmed they had asked the FBI to examine evidence from the family of Shane Todd, an electronics engineer found hanged in Singapore in June 2012.

The family dispute an autopsy report that he committed suicide and fear he may have been murdered, saying they found computer files linking Todd's work before his death to China's Huawei Technologies, which denies involvement in any such project.

A police spokesman told AFP they had asked Todd's family to share any evidence in their possession or have it reviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation if they were "not comfortable" handing it over to the Singapore Police Force.

"As there has so far been no response to this request, SPF has sought the FBI's assistance to engage the family and for FBI to examine the evidence," the spokesman said late Saturday in a written response to queries.

The US State Department said on Friday that Washington had offered FBI assistance to Singapore, which has a thriving high-tech research sector, and was engaged in "frequent discussions" with the country's officials on the case.

The story first generated attention after the Financial Times reported in February that Todd's parents suspected he may have been murdered due to his work at a top electronics research institute in Singapore.

It said he was working on an advanced amplifier using gallium nitride (GaN), a tough semiconductor material, and that the technology could have commercial and military applications.

Asked about the report, Huawei told AFP it was approached by Todd's former employer, the Institute of Microelectronics (IME), but "we decided not to accept, and consequently do not have any cooperation with IME related to GaN."

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