Feds Target Rodman for Gifts to Kim Jong Un

Former U.S. basketball player Dennis Rodman arrives at Beijing International Airport from North Korea on Jan. 13, 2014.
WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

Dennis Rodman’s month likely couldn’t get any worse. First, he was hit by global condemnation for being friendly with a dictator.

Then he entered rehab upon his return home from Korea after an outburst during an interview. The Hall of Famer became angry when an interviewer asked him if he would use a trip to Korea to facilitate the release of an American missionary.


Now the U.S. Treasury Department is investigating whether Rodman violated a law that bans the importing of luxury goods into North Korea, the Daily Beast reports.

During his third and most recent trip to Pyongyang this month, the former NBA star reportedly brought several gifts for Kim Jong Un’s 31st birthday, including Irish Jameson whiskey, European crystal, an Italian suit, a fur coat and an English Mulberry handbag for Kim’s wife, Ri Sol-ju, all allegedly worth thousands, the report says.

Rodman, a Hall of Famer, assembled a team of former NBA players to participate in an exhibition game earlier this month against a team of North Koreans.

But the gifts, allegedly worth more than $10,000, may not have been all. Michael Spavor, a Beijing-based consultant who facilitated and joined Rodman’s triptweeted a photo of Rodman apparently displaying several bottles of his own brand “Bad Ass Vodka” for Kim and his wife, the report says.


The gifts appear to be violations of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718, adopted in 2006, and UNSCR 2094, adopted in 2013. Additionally, Rodman may have violated an American law called the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), as implemented by Executive Order 13551 (pdf), which President Obama signed in 2010, which makes it a violation of U.S. law for any person determined by the Treasury and State Departments “to have, directly or indirectly, imported, exported, or reexported luxury goods to or into North Korea.”

The Treasury Department, in consultation with the State Department, is reportedly looking into the allegations that Rodman violated that law, a U.S. official told the Daily Beast. It’s unclear whether the inquiry has included the participation of the Department of Justice, which would be brought in to prosecute any violations, the report says.


Read more at the Daily Beast.

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