SINGAPORE: The United States citizen accused of sending out the personal information of thousands of people from Singapore’s HIV registry had threatened the Government he would make the data public if it did not release his husband.
In an affidavit filed by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent Chelsea Holliday on Feb 22, Mikhy Farrera-Brochez admitted he had come “into possession of the database in Singapore” and brought it to the US.
Brochez said he would hand over the database to the FBI if it could “convince the Government of Singapore to release his husband”, Singaporean doctor Ler Teck Siang.
“But if the Singaporean Government did not release Siang (Ler), he would release the database to the public,” Holliday wrote in her official report, which has been seen by Channel NewsAsia.
Holliday also said that Brochez advised her that he would "commit suicide" before he would turn over the database.
READ: The leaking of Singapore’s HIV registry records and the hunt for Mikhy Farrera Brochez: A timeline
Brochez has been charged in the US with the unlawful transfer of stolen identification documents and possession with intent to distribute these documents.
It is alleged that from June 2018 through to at least January 2019, Brochez, while living in Kentucky, had emailed links from the medical database to several media outlets, including Alvinology, Mothership, the Straits Times and CNN.
In the affidavit, Holliday said the FBI had first come in contact with Brochez when he wrote to them via the FBI website in November last year.
He alleged Ler had “married him under false pretenses” and claimed he had been falsely imprisoned in Singapore.
Two agents from the FBI, including Holliday, met with Brochez.
"Brochez went on to accuse the Singapore Government of kidnapping, lying, forging documents, falsely imprisoning him, impersonating police officers and allowing Brochez to be raped in prison," said Holliday. "Brochez claims that he did not have HIV when he went to prison in Singapore, but contracted it there.
“Brochez was not able to offer proof or witnesses to any of the allegations that he made."
Holliday added: "(FBI agent James) Huggins and I advised him to contact me if he could provide proof.
"We explained to him that the FBI could not begin an investigation into a foreign government based solely on his word and that there were likely jurisdictional boundaries as well.”
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has refuted his “baseless allegations” and called him a “pathological liar”.
Two months later, Brochez again contacted the FBI.
Holliday said he refused to explain what he wanted from the FBI, but “appeared to be emotionally distressed and erratic”.
The FBI became aware of the data leak from Singapore’s HIV registry in February 2019.
After a VICE News article was published the same month, in which he admitted to sharing the data with the press and Singaporean and American government, the FBI found several emails sent out by Brochez.
On Jan 22, Brochez had sent an email to the Singapore Government with his baseless accusations and links to an online platform, which he explained were links to the medical database, the affidavit said.
Several emails were also sent from his personal email to news outlets, before he warned in a Facebook post in February that he would continue to release the data unless Ler is released from prison.
READ: Mikhy Farrera Brochez, American wanted in Singapore for HIV data leak, charged in US for trespassing
On Feb 19, Holliday tried to get Brochez to come in for an interview, but he refused to, claiming the FBI was trying to set him up to be arrested by the Singapore Government.
Two days later, the agent spoke with Brochez’s mother, Teresa King, whom he had been living with after he was released from Singapore prison.
“King advised that her son was mentally ill and she was extremely afraid of him,” Holliday said.
She also told the FBI her son had sent her a link from his email to the stolen database, and she deleted it because she did not want to be in possession of it.
“King also explained that Brochez admitted to her that he emailed links to the database to the Supreme Court in Singapore and Singaporean diplomats,” the affidavit said.
On that same day, the FBI found out that Brochez might be in Jackson, Kentucky, and he was detained and interviewed by the FBI.
“During this interview, Brochez admitted to coming into possession of the database in Singapore then bringing it into the United States,” Holliday wrote.
He admitted to sending the database because he wanted to “clear his name” and to get Ler released.
Brochez, who had worked in Singapore as a psychology lecturer, was sentenced in 2017 to 28 months in jail on drug and fraud charges, including for using a fake blood test to lie about his HIV-positive status and gain an employment pass.
His partner Ler had access to the HIV registry as part of his work as the former head of the National Public Health Unit. The pair started living together in Singapore in 2008, and were married in New York City in 2014.
Singapore's Health Ministry announced on Jan 28 that Brochez, who was deported last April, had leaked online information from Singapore’s HIV registry. That included names, phone numbers, addresses, test results and medical information.
He is now wanted in connection with the data leak that includes 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV from 1985 to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners, including work and visit pass applicants and holders, diagnosed with HIV from 1985 to December 2011.
Brochez will appear before court in Kentucky on Feb 27.