Trial against American behind Singapore’s HIV Registry data leak commences

Mikhy Farrera Brochez, the American charged with leaking sensitive and confidential information of 14,200 individuals from Singapore’s HIV registry faced his first day of trial on Monday (3 Jun) in Kentucky.

The presiding judge, US District Judge Danny Reeves, refused his request to dismiss the case. The proceedings continued as prosecutors called more than half a dozen witnesses including FBI agents, a Ministry of Health director, and Brochez’s own mother to present their case.

The testimonies recounted the entire affair of Brochez’s smuggling the database out of Singapore, and keeping it on several devices as well as uploading it online to a Google drive. He was ordered by the US Federal Court to delete all the confidential information that he had.

From the US, where he’s been living after being deported from Singapore, Brochez emailed links to media and government officials, said witnesses.

Director of Communicable Diseases at Singapore’s Ministry of Health Dr Vernon Lee testified on Monday that officials knew as early as 2016 that Brochez had emailed screenshots of the registry but weren’t of the belief that he has the full copy of it until January 2019. It was then that the ministry announced the leak to the public.

Brochez also threatened to disclose more information if Singapore continued to investigate his case, shutdown the registry, and kept his Singaporean partner Dr Ler Teck Siang in prison.

Ler is facing charges in Singapore for helping Brochez provide false information to authorities in order to secure an employment pass in Singapore. He was sentenced to two years’ in jail in November last year.

Brochez himself was jailed in Singapore for two years on charges of falsfying tests results related to his HIB-positive status in order to get an employment pass. In Singapore, HIV-positive foreigners are not allowed to work in the country.

Brochez pleaded not guilty to the charges and is expected to testify on Tuesday.