The Treasury Department is reportedly investigating Dennis Rodman for potentially violating the law by giving North Korean leader Kim Jong Un thousands of dollars in luxury gifts on his several trips to Pyongyang.
A U.S. official told The Daily Beast that Treasury officials are looking into whether the former Hall of Fame 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 NBA star gave Kim several gifts worth more than $10,000, including an Italian suit, a fur coat, European crystal, and an English Mulberry handbag for Kim Jong Un’s wife, according to The Weekly Standard.
Rodman also appeared in a Twitter photo showing off several bottles of his recently launched “Bad Ass Vodka” for Kim Jong Un and his wife, DailyBeast.com reported. Alcoholic beverages are included in the federal government’s definition of “luxury goods.”
— Michael (@mpspavor) January 13, 2014
Rodman was the highest-profile American to meet Kim since Kim inherited power from father Kim Jong Il in 2011, and traveled to the oppressed state for the first time last February with the Harlem Globetrotters for a HBO series produced by New York-based VICE television.
The 52-year-old Rodman has been criticized for hanging out with a mass murder and tyrant, Kim Jong Un, without attempting to help facilitate 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.
In a recent interview with CNN, Rodman had a public meltdown before the game on CNN, defending his decision to travel to North Korea. View the video below: