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HIV data breach: MOH, police and prisons refute Brochez’s ‘baseless’ allegations

SINGAPORE — The Singapore authorities on Wednesday (Feb 13) refuted “baseless” allegations by American fraudster Mikhy K Farrera Brochez, calling him out as a "pathological liar" who was accorded due legal process and convicted in the Republic’s courts.

Mikhy K Farrera Brochez leaked the data of 14,200 HIV sufferers from Singapore's HIV registry. Brochez had published several public posts related to the recent HIV data leak on his Facebook page on Feb 13, a day after Health Minister Gan Kim Yong addressed the leak in Parliament.

Mikhy K Farrera Brochez leaked the data of 14,200 HIV sufferers from Singapore's HIV registry. Brochez had published several public posts related to the recent HIV data leak on his Facebook page on Feb 13, a day after Health Minister Gan Kim Yong addressed the leak in Parliament.

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SINGAPORE — The Singapore authorities on Wednesday (Feb 13) refuted “baseless” allegations by American fraudster Mikhy K Farrera Brochez, calling him out as a "pathological liar" who was accorded due legal process and convicted in the Republic’s courts.

Earlier in the day, Brochez had put up a series of Facebook posts making a string of allegations against Singapore government agencies including the Ministry of Health (MOH), the police and the prison service.

In a joint statement, the police and the prison service said: “Brochez had been tried and found guilty by the Singapore Courts. He was accorded due legal process. He has now made baseless allegations about the investigations as well as against Police and Prisons. His actions have shown him to be a pathological liar.”

It added: “Nevertheless, we welcome him to come back to Singapore to assist with Police investigations.”

MOH had said last month that Brochez had leaked the confidential records of 14,200 HIV-positive individuals, along with 2,400 of their contacts, with information spanning almost three decades from 1985 up to January 2013.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong delivered a ministerial statement on the incident, where he explained why MOH decided against going public about the breach twice in 2016 and 2018. Mr Gan also rejected suggestions of a cover-up by his ministry, stressing that the chief concern was the well-being of the affected individuals.

On Wednesday, MOH reiterated that Mr Gan had given a full account of the incident in Parliament in his ministerial statement.

It added: “The matter has been thoroughly investigated by both the Ministry of Health and the police. Brochez was convicted in Court for fraud and various drug offences. Should new evidence emerge, we will investigate accordingly.”

Adding that it has explained the public health reasons for having the HIV Registry, the ministry rejected Brochez’s allegations that the registry is “used to target a group of men with specific sexual orientation”.

MOH said: “The fact that there is such a registry is public knowledge and statistics on HIV infection rates from the HIV registry are published annually.”

Noting that Brochez has threatened to release more confidential information from the registry, MOH said it will work with police to “take appropriate actions”.

It added: “Our priority remains the well-being of the affected individuals. We appeal to members of the public not to retain or share such information, as it could cause distress and anxiety amongst those affected. Please alert the police should you come across such information.”

The Singapore authorities provided a point by point rebuttal of Brochez's allegations: 

ALLEGATION #1: HIV registry leaked by a Zachary Levine

What Brochez said: 
The registry was stolen by a Zachary Levine and his boyfriend. Mr Levine had a sexual relationship with Ler, and was unhappy with their living arrangements. Mr Levine then leaked the registry.

What police and prison service said:
The police investigated Levine in 2016, following similar allegations by Brochez.  The investigations included an interview with Levine and examination of his electronic devices seized from his residence, which did not reveal any evidence to suggest that Levine was either had any MOH-related files or shared any HIV registry data. Prior to 2016, Brochez also claimed in his correspondence with MOH that Ler and Levine shared screenshots of Brochez’s own record in the HIV registry. However, Brochez was never able to produce verifiable evidence to support this claim.

ALLEGATION #2: Brochez was sexually assaulted and contracted HIV while in prison

What Brochez said:
He only contracted HIV while serving his sentence in prison, where he was gang-raped by other inmates.

What police and prison service said:
The allegation that he was sexually assaulted while in prison was investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department and found to be untrue. In fact, while imprisoned, he committed “a litany of institutional offences”, including assaulting another inmate. When he was first admitted to prison in June 2016, he had also declared he has been HIV-positive since 2008.

ALLEGATION #3: Brochez was tortured while in police custody

What police and prison service said:
The police’s Internal Affairs Office had investigated this allegation, and found it to be untrue.

ALLEGATION #4: Brochez was denied HIV medication while in prison

What Brochez said:
Deputy Public Prosecutors from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had interfered with his medical treatment while he was in prison. After Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious diseases specialist, treated him, his medicine was again withheld, and he was told he would not get it till he pleaded guilty.

What police and prison service said:
In June 2016 when he was first admitted to prison, he refused to go for the necessary blood tests to ascertain his medical condition and to get treatment, despite admitting that he was HIV-positive.
Prisons eventually checked with MOH, and subsequently gave him the necessary medication. The AGC did not interfere with his treatment, and in fact had no authority to so.

ALLEGATION #5: The HIV registry is used to target homosexual men

What Brochez said:
The registry is meant to keep track of men who have sex with men, so the Government can track them.

What MOH said:
The ministry has explained the public health reasons for the HIV registry. His allegation is untrue — the fact that there is such a registry is public knowledge, and statistics on HIV infection rates from the registry are published annually.

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