Huawei denies work in field tied to death
By Jeremy Wagstaff, ReutersSINGAPORE -- Chinese telecommunications company Huawei said on Monday it had not worked with an institute in Singapore on any projects in the specialist field of an American engineer who died mysteriously last year shortly after leaving the institute.
February 20, 2013, 12:22 am TWN
Britain's Financial Times said on Saturday that Shane Todd had been working on “what was apparently a joint project” between Singapore's Institute of Microelectronics, or IME, and Huawei shortly before he died last June.
His parents have said he was murdered because of his involvement in the project, which they say involved exporting sensitive military technology to China.
IME declined immediate comment.
Singapore police said they were still investigating the death of Todd, 31, and would submit their evidence to a coroner. Singaporean pathologists concluded in an autopsy last June that he died by hanging in his Singapore flat.
“IME approached Huawei on one occasion to cooperate with them in the GaN field, but we decided not to accept, and consequently do not have any cooperation with IME related to GaN,” Huawei said in a statement.
Todd's area of expertise was Gallium Nitride (GaN), an advanced semiconductor material which has both commercial and military purposes. It is used in things from Blu-ray disc players to military radars.
Huawei said that the development of GaN technology was commonplace across the telecommunications industry.
Reuters reviewed evidence the family presented supporting its theory a few weeks after his death, including emails, other documents and photographs.
Interviews with the family, colleagues and friends revealed conflicting views on Todd's state of mind before his death, the nature of his work and how he died.
Colleagues said that he was increasingly depressed in his last few months, but said that his concerns appeared to center on a sense of failure about his work, and an ambivalence about returning to the United States.
Researchers in unrelated fields have also questioned how, if his work was so sensitive, he was able to take home computer files from his office. His family retrieved a hard drive which included work files in his flat.
IME is part of a network of research institutes managed by government-run Agency for Science, Technology and Research, or A*Star.
A former A*Star researcher now working in the United States pointed out that IME and other A*Star institutes were not military research organizations.