Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Shane Todd Case: An International Corporate Conspiracy

Back in June of 2012, Montana native, Shane Todd [31], was found dead in his apartment in the Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore. Police ruled the death a suicide, reporting that Todd had concocted an elaborate pulley system involving a series of ropes and screws in the bathroom wall where he hung himself. Shane’s parents, Rick and Mary Todd; however, believe something very different happened to their son: they believe he was murdered. Shane Todd moved to Singapore for work; he was an engineer working for a top technology firm, Institute of Microelectronics (IME), in the island nation. Just before his death, Shane resigned from his position from IME's research department and made preparations to move back to the United States. Shane told his parents that he resigned from the tech company because his work on superconductors for IME might have been passed to China’s Huawei Corporation, for use in systems that could involve jamming U.S. radar.

Then Shane told his mother something that no mother ever wants to hear; a hint that would subsequently come to pass: “Mom, if you don’t hear from me then call the American Embassy. I feel like my life is being threatened.” After Shane’s death, his parents went to his Singapore apartment and saw that something just didn’t add up. “I saw no screws in the walls, no ropes, no pulley,” Shane’s father told ABC News. Also, the alleged suicide note, which the police said they found on his computer, was impersonal and not in Shane Todd’s tone, according to his brother, Dylan. Moreover, Shane’s parents later had a U.S. pathologist examine his body and found bruise marks that indicated their son died after a struggle, which included bruises on his hands, indicating that he may have had a fight prior to his death. Todd’s parents also found a backup hard drive that they say contained evidence that suggests their son might have been inadvertently caught up in a plot to transfer sensitive technology to China.

IME shot down the Todd family’s speculation, of course, telling ABC News in a statement that neither IME nor Todd was involved in any classified research project working with China, and that they deeply grieve his loss. Under Singapore law, a coroner's inquiry is needed for deaths that are not a result of illness. Singapore Minister of Foreign Affairs K. Shanmugam said Singapore police would share with the FBI evidence they had been withholding. Shanmugam also said IME would be open to a U.S. audit of its activities, and that no unauthorized technology transfers occurred at any point, and that U.S. officials are welcome to inspect records he said would prove it. The announcements came after meetings with Secretary of State John Kerry March 12, 2013. Shanmugan also met with Montana Sen. Max Baucus (pictured above), a Democrat, who along with that state's other senator, Jon Tester, also a Democrat, has been pushing for U.S. investigators to take the lead in reviewing the case. In a news conference before the meeting, Baucus said progress on the case has been slow, and that he’d press the foreign minister to allow the FBI full access to the evidence in the case.

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