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Singapore police refutes FT report on U.S. engineer's death


10:15, May 12, 2013

SINGAPORE, May 11 (Xinhua) -- Singapore police on Saturday refuted a Financial Times report on the death of American engineer Shane Todd as "inaccurate" and "mischievous."

The article carried by the London-based newspaper on Friday said that the police gave the parents of Todd different versions of how the U.S. engineer died in a Singapore apartment.

The police said the article is "calculated to interfere with the administration of justice in Singapore." It made no attempts to confirm with them whether the police gave different versions of the story and "grossly misrepresented" its position because alleged statements exchanged between Todd's parents and the police were presented as facts.

The police said that this is "highly inappropriate" and whether such statements were actually made is to be determined by the state coroner.

Todd, a 31-year-old engineer, was found hanged in his Singapore apartment in what appeared to be a suicide. His parents, however, suspect foul play while Todd was employed by the Institute of Microelectronics, a unit of the state-run Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

Authorities in Singapore have said that they adopt standards that were among the highest in the world.

A coroner's inquiry has been scheduled to start on Monday.

More than 60 witnesses have been lined up for the coroner's inquiry. About half of them are likely to take the stand, with the rest providing recorded statements.

Todd's family had sought the help of U.S. lawmakers, who subsequently tried to block U.S. funding to IME, a unit of the official Agency for Science, Technology and Researchto put pressure on Singapore. It also led to diplomatic pressure on Singapore, with the city state's foreign minister K Shanmugan meeting U.S. lawmakers over the case.

While admitting that he did not have the facts, U.S. senator Max Baucus said he had "deep concerns about potential foul play and potential breaches of national security." Some of the U.S. lawmakers have also been pushing for American investigators to take the lead in reviewing the case.

Kishore Mahbubani, a scholar and former diplomat of Singapore, said he was appalled at Baucus jumping the gun and trying to pressure by forcing Singapore to give the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) oversight of the case before the coroner's court had completed its inquiry.

"This goes against all international laws and norms. The United States would never allow a foreign police force to oversee an FBI investigation. Nor would it allow any foreign intervention into its judicial inquiry process," he said.

He said, citing his own experience of living in the United States, that what was even more absurd is that any objective investigation will show that the Singapore police is at least as competent, if not more competent, than the FBI.

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