American’s death in Singapore ruled suicide

Coroner says scientist hanged himself but questions about China and high-tech secrets remain.

Published by Al Jazeera English, July 8, 2013

Tom Benner

Singapore – Authorities in Singapore have ruled that American electronics engineer Shane Todd, whose hanging death in June 2012 touched off accusations of espionage and murder, was a victim of suicide.

State coroner Chay Yuen Fatt on Monday told a packed courtroom in Singapore’s Subordinate Courts building that there was no foul play, and Todd died by asphyxia caused by hanging.

The finding was immediately rejected by family members who say Todd died an American hero, trying to stop the secret transfer of highly sensitive US military technology from his Singapore research agency employer to a Chinese telecommunications giant suspected by some countries of manufacturing devices that can be used for spying.

“We are disappointed, but not surprised, by the coroner’s verdict of suicide,” the Todd family said in a statement.

The coroner’s inquiry focused on the cause of death. Larger questions raised by the case remain: did a clandestine plot actually exist to transfer US export-controlled technology to the Chinese, and could its possible revelation have motivated a suicide or a murder? A separate and highly delicate investigation into whether Todd or his employer actually possessed technological information that may have compromised US national security is planned, but not yet under way. Continue reading …

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