Government denies allegations made by Mikhy Farrera Brochez about HIV Registry leak

Mikhy Farrera Brochez, the American who allegedly leaked information of 14,200 people from Singapore's HIV Registry.
Mikhy Farrera Brochez, the American who allegedly leaked information of 14,200 people from Singapore's HIV Registry.PHOTO: MUGSHOTS.COM

SINGAPORE - The Government has denied allegations made by the American at the centre of the HIV Registry leak, saying they are either false or unsubstantiated.

In particular, it said it was not true that the American, Mikhy Farrera Brochez, was abused while in police custody; that he was sexually assaulted and contracted HIV while in prison; and that he was denied HIV medication while in jail. They also shot down Brochez's claim that the registry was leaked by another person.

These allegations, among others, were made by Brochez in a series of Facebook posts on Wednesday morning (Feb 13). He was deported in 2018 after serving a jail term and is now in the United States.

MOH had revealed the data breach on Jan 28, after discovering that Brochez had leaked online the details of 14,200 people diagnosed with HIV here since 1985.

His partner, Singaporean doctor Ler Teck Siang, 37, is facing a charge under the Official Secrets Act for failing to properly handle information from the HIV Registry which he had access to as the head of the National Public Health Unit up to May 2013.

His Facebook posts came after a parliamentary debate on the matter on Tuesday, during which Health Minister Gan Kim Yong explained how information from the registry had fallen into Brochez's hands, the events leading to it being put online and what the authorities have done to manage this since.

A Ministry of Health statement (MOH) said Brochez, 34, continues to make "allegations which are either false or unsubstantiated".

 
 
 
 

The ministry said the matter had been thoroughly investigated by both MOH and the police.

"Brochez was convicted in court for fraud and various drug offences. Should new evidence emerge, we will investigate accordingly," it added.

MOH also pointed out that it had previously indicated that Brochez may have possession of further information, and may reveal it in future.

"He has now threatened to do so, and MOH will work with the Police to take appropriate actions," said the ministry.

A joint statement from the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Prison Services also set out responses to some of Brochez's allegations.

On the allegation that the HIV Registry was leaked by one Zachary Levine, the statement said that police investigated Levine in 2016 following similar allegations by Brochez.

"Police investigation, which included an interview and examination of Levine's electronic devices seized from his residence, did not reveal any evidence to suggest that Zachary was either in possession of any MOH-related files, or had shared any HIV Registry data," the statement said.

It added that prior to 2016, Brochez had claimed in correspondences with MOH that his partner Ler and Levine had shared screenshots of Brochez's own record in the HIV Registry "but Brochez was never able to produce verifiable evidence to support this claim".

Brochez also claimed he had been abused while in police custody.

The statement said this had been investigated by the police's Internal Affairs Office and found to be untrue.

Turning to Brochez's claim that he had been sexually assaulted and had contracted HIV while in prison, the statement said this had been investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department and found to be untrue.

"On the contrary, during Brochez's imprisonment, he committed a litany of institutional offences, including assaulting a fellow inmate."

It added that it is a matter of record that the American had contracted HIV years before he went to jail here in 2016.

The statement also said it was untrue that Brochez was denied HIV medication to manage his condition while in jail.

The authorities said that when he was admitted into prison in June 2016, he declared he had been HIV-positive since 2008.

"He, however, refused to submit himself for the necessary blood tests for the purposes of ascertaining his medical condition and of treatment," the statement said.

Given his refusal, the Prisons department eventually checked with MOH and subsequently provided him with the necessary medication.

The Attorney-General's Chamber (AGC) did not interfere with his medical treatment as Brochez alleged, "and in fact, AGC has no authority to do so".

 
 

The statement said Brochez had been tried and found guilty by the Singapore Courts and accorded due legal process.

"He has now made baseless allegations about the investigations as well as against the Police and Prisons. His actions have shown him to be a pathological liar."

"Nevertheless, we welcome him to come back to Singapore to assist with Police investigations."

Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious disease specialist who treated Brochez in prison, also denied allegations made by the American against him.

Brochez claimed that Dr Leong had given him a list of HIV-positive prisoners. He also claimed that Dr Leong was "stressed from all the political pressures on him" and had originally told Brochez that he did not have HIV.

In messages to The Straits Times, Dr Leong said he never had such a list and that it would have been impossible to give Brochez any kind of written material given the tight security at the prison.

Dr Leong said: "I strongly object to what Mikhy has alleged. Both the prison service and myself discharged our duties fully and with no bias or stigma.

"Medical confidentiality and patient care were always at the top of our minds. These accusations go against the very fabric of our values."

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Senior Minister of State for Health Edwin Tong called Brochez a pathological liar.

"Mikhy Brochez lied about the identity of his mother, he lied about his own identity in his passport, he lied about his educational qualifications, he lied about his HIV positive status, and he is now lying about what he did. He is a pathological liar," said Mr Tong.