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U.S. engineer not involved in sensitive research before death in Singapore: former colleagues


10:57, May 18, 2013

SINGAPORE, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The former colleagues of American researcher Shane Todd at a Singapore research institute said on Friday in an inquiry into his death that their research group was not involved in any military or sensitive research involving the semiconductor material Gallium nitride (GaN).

The Financial Times, one of the key drivers behind the publicity on the Todd case, has carried investigative reports earlier that contained allegations that Todd may have lost his life over a research project on GaN involving Huawei, a China- based global information and communications technology solutions provider.

Speaking at a coroner's inquiry into the death of Todd in Singapore, his former colleague Susai Lawrence Selvaraj said he disagreed with the article "Death in Singapore" carried by the Financial Times in February this year.

"... contrary to the Financial Times article, the GaN group could not have developed any highly sensitive technology," he said.

GaN is a material that could be used for either civilian or military purposes. The Financial Times article indicated that the research project involved collaboration between Huawei and the Institute of Microelectronics (IME), Todd's former employer and a unit of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

Todd, who has a doctor's degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, joined the Institute of Microelectronics in late 2010. He was found hanging from a toilet door in his apartment bedroom on June 24 last year, several days after resigning from the institute.

Singapore police concluded after an investigation that Todd took his own life, but his parents suspected foul play and, with the help of the media and U.S. lawmakers, made a publicity drive to put pressure on Singapore authorities and even called for U.S. officers to take the lead in the investigation in Singapore.

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