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Singapore Disappointed by Senators’ Bid to Block Funds

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March 18 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore said it’s disappointed by a plan by two U.S. senators to block funding to a research institute until the Federal Bureau of Investigation gets full access in the probe of American Shane Todd’s death.

Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both Montana Democrats, on March 14 introduced an amendment to stop contracts, loans and other funds from going to Singapore’s Institute of Microelectronics, where Todd had worked. Todd’s death in June may be tied to one of the institute’s projects and possible technology transfers to China, his father Rick Todd has said.

“The issue of applying ‘pressure’ should not arise between countries, which have had a long, open and cooperative relationship with each other based on mutual respect,” Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday. “We are deeply disappointed by the senators’ actions and statements,” according to the e-mailed statement.

Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam, who met with Baucus on March 12 during a visit to the U.S., has said there were no illegal technology transfers at the institute. The institute is subject to rigorous audits, he said.

The senators had proposed to block funding to the institute, a unit of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research, until the U.S. Attorney General certifies the FBI has full access to all evidence and records in the probe into Todd’s death. The institute received almost $500,000 in sub-grants from the U.S. Defense Department in 2010, according to Baucus’s office.

The Todd family has disputed the Singapore police’s conclusion that Shane Todd had committed suicide and asked for the FBI to investigate his death.

Singapore’s police has refrained from publicizing the information it has gathered because of pending investigations, the city-state’s foreign ministry said in yesterday’s statement.

“Singapore has made every effort to be open and transparent in both the investigation of Mr. Todd’s death and the IME’s projects,” Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said. “We will let the outcome of the investigation and coroner’s inquiry speak for themselves.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Tan in Singapore at atan17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net

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