Feds reportedly investigating Rodman for violating sanctions against N. Korea
The Treasury Department is reportedly investigating whether Dennis Rodman broke the law by bringing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un thousands of dollars in luxury gifts on his most recent trip to Pyongyang.
A U.S. official told The Daily Beast that Treasury officials are looking into whether the former NBA star violated a law that prohibits the importing of luxury goods into North Korea. The official said the State Department is involved in the investigation.
Rodman recently led a team of retired NBA players in a game in Pyongyang to celebrate Kim's 31st birthday. The Hall of Famer gave Kim a trove of gifts worth more than $10,000, including an Italian suit, a fur coat, European crystal, and an English Mulberry handbag for Kim’s wife, according to The Weekly Standard.
Rodman also appeared in a Twitter photo displaying several bottles of his recently launched "Bad Ass Vodka" for Kim Jong Un and his wife, The Daily Beast reported. Alcoholic beverages are included in the federal government's definition of "luxury goods."
Rodman was the highest-profile American to meet Kim since Kim inherited power from father Kim Jong Il in 2011. He traveled to the secretive state for the first time last February with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO series produced by New York-based VICE television.
The 52-year-old Rodman has been denounced for not trying to use his influence with Kim to secure the release of Kenneth Bae, an American missionary with health problems who is being held in North Korea on charges of "anti-state" crimes.
He organized a group of retired NBA players to travel to North Korea for that exhibition game. Rodman dedicated the contest to his "best friend" Kim, who along with his wife and other senior officials and their wives watched from a special seating area. The capacity crowd of about 14,000 at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium clapped loudly as Rodman sang a verse from the song.
Rodman had an angry meltdown before the game on CNN, defending his decision to travel to North Korea. He has since checked into an undisclosed alcohol rehabilitation center to treat his long-time struggle with alcoholism, according to his agent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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