Senators Plan to Block Singapore Institute Funds in Probe

U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester proposed to block funding to a Singapore institute until the Federal Bureau of Investigation is certified to have full data access in the probe of American research engineer Shane Todd’s death.

The two Montana Democrats introduced the amendment to stop contracts, loans and other funds from going to Singapore’s Institute of Microelectronics, where Todd had worked, Baucus’s office said in an e-mailed statement. The institute, a unit of the state-owned Agency for Science, Technology and Research, received almost $500,000 in sub-grants from the U.S. Defense Department in 2010, according to the statement dated yesterday.

The senators propose to block funding until the U.S. Attorney General certifies the FBI has full access to all evidence and records in the probe into Todd’s death. His death may be tied to one of the company’s projects and possible technology transfers to China, his father Rick Todd has said.

“IME takes the protection of intellectual property and its contractual obligations very seriously, and maintains comprehensive intellectual property policies and practices to ensure compliance with regulations,” the institute said in a March 14 statement on its website.

The institute said it welcomes a team from the U.S. to audit its processes to verify that there was no wrongful transfer of controlled U.S. technology.

The city-state will hold a “public and fully transparent coroner’s inquiry” into Todd’s death, Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam said after a meeting with Baucus on March 12 in Washington. There were no illegal transfers of technology at the institute, which is subject to “rigorous internal audits,” he said.

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