Dennis Rodman May Have Broken Global Sanctions While on North Korea Trip

Dennis Rodman gestures as he has a drink while checking in for his flight to North Korea at Beijing's international airport on Jan. 6. The former NBA basketball player might have violated global sanctions against Pyongyang by giving lavish gifts to leader Kim Jong Un while on the trip.
National Journal
Alexander Abad-Santos
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Alexander Abad-Santos
Jan. 24, 2014, 6:58 a.m.

Den­nis Rod­man can’t catch a break. 

On top of an abysmal trip to North Korea which ended with him tak­ing a dir­ect flight to re­hab, Den­nis Rod­man is now the sub­ject of a U.S. Treas­ury De­part­ment in­vest­ig­a­tion be­cause of gifts he gave to Kim Jong Un.

Shower­ing a North Korean dic­tat­or with gifts not only looks bad pa­per, it’s pos­sibly against the law, as it could be a vi­ol­a­tion of Amer­ic­an and United Na­tions sanc­tions against the na­tion and its people. Rod­man re­portedly brought many gifts with him in hon­or of Kim’s 31st birth­day ran­ging from suits, to a fur coat, to bottles of Jameson, to an ex­pens­ive hand­bag. Those gifts al­legedly costs up­wards of $10,000 and ex­perts be­lieve those gifts could be seen as vi­ol­a­tions of U.N. sanc­tions.

What’s per­haps more press­ing for an Amer­ic­an like Rod­man is that these gifts ac­tu­ally vi­ol­ate U.S. law.

The Daily Beast re­ports: “Rod­man may have vi­ol­ated an Amer­ic­an law called the In­ter­na­tion­al Emer­gency Eco­nom­ic Powers Act … 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.’”

Gath­er­ing in­form­a­tion from an un­named U.S. of­fi­cial, the Daily Beast is re­port­ing that the Treas­ury De­part­ment is ac­tu­ally in­vest­ig­at­ing if Rod­man broke that lux­ury good law. The State De­part­ment earli­er had voiced their dis­pleas­ure with Rod­man’s vis­it, call­ing it “mar­gin­ally un­help­ful.”

The Beast also seems to think the feds have a pretty good case.”Rod­man could have ap­plied for an ex­port li­cense for the goods, al­though ex­port li­censes for North Korea must meet strict cri­ter­ia and lux­ury goods are spe­cific­ally ex­cluded from the list of items that could re­ceive li­censes, ac­cord­ing to fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions.”

De­pend­ing on what, if any­thing, Rod­man brought over (and how much the gov­ern­ment wants to smack him down), he could face up to $250,000 in fines or up to 20 years in jail if con­victed. 

Re­prin­ted with per­mis­sion from The Wire. The ori­gin­al story can be found here.

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