Dennis Rodman was already having a rotten month, between the trip to rehab and the global condemnation for cozying up to a dictator. Now things may be about to get much worse. The U.S. Treasury Department is investigating whether he violated the law that prohibits the importing of luxury goods into North Korea.
On his third and most recent trip to Pyongyang this month, Rodman reportedlybrought several gifts for the young Kim’s 31st birthday. They allegedly included hundreds of dollars’ worth of Irish Jameson whiskey, European crystal, an Italian suit, a fur coat, and an English Mulberry handbag for Kim’s wife, Ri Sol-ju.
But these gifts, reportedly worth more than $10,000, may not have been all. Michael Spavor, a Beijing-based consultant who facilitated and joined Rodman’s trip, tweeted a photo of Rodman apparently displaying several bottles of his own brand “Bad Ass Vodka” for Kim Jong Un and his wife.
These gifts could be more than tasteless. They could also put Rodman in legal jeopardy. They appear to be violations of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718, adopted in 2006, and UNSCR 2094, adopted in 2013.
Perhaps more importantly, Rodman may have violated an American law called the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), as implemented byExecutive Order 13551, 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 currently looking into the allegations that Rodman violated that law, one 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.
“Treasury cannot comment on possible investigations,” said Hagar Chemali, spokesperson for the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI). Typically, TFI’s Office of Foreign Assets Control would be in charge of sanctions busting investigations.
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