Singapore irked by bid to cut US funding over Shane Todd's death
Senators' bid to block grants over inquiry into researcher's death 'disappoints' city state
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Singapore said it is disappointed with a plan by two US senators to block funding to an institute until the FBI gets full access in the investigation into American researcher Shane Todd's death.
Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both Democrats, have 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 linked to one of the institute's projects and possible technology transfers to China, his father has said.
"The issue of applying 'pressure' should not arise between countries which have had a long, open and co-operative relationship with each other based on mutual respect," Singapore's foreign ministry said. "We are deeply disappointed by the senators' actions and statements."
Foreign minister K. Shanmugam, who met Baucus during a visit to the US last week, has said there were no illegal technology transfers at the institute and it is subject to rigorous audits.
The senators had proposed to block funding to the institute - a unit of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research - until the US attorney general certifies that the FBI has full access to evidence and records in the investigation.
The institute received almost US$500,000 in sub-grants from the Defence Department in 2010, according to Baucus' office.
Todd's family has disputed the Singapore police conclusion that he committed suicide and asked for the FBI to investigate.
The police have refrained from publicising the information it has gathered because of pending inquiries, the ministry said yesterday. "Singapore has made every effort to be open and transparent in both the investigation of Mr Todd's death and the IME's projects. We will let the outcome of the investigation and coroner's inquiry speak for themselves."