Treasury probe for Rodman for sanctions violations

posted at 2:41 pm on January 24, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

What happens when a famous basketball player travels to a totalitarian prison state to sing Happy Birthday to a tyrant? He gets a lot of criticism … and attention, of course. What happens when he brings some expensive birthday gifts? Dennis Rodman might just get prison time:

On his third and most recent trip to Pyongyang this month, Rodman reportedly brought 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 triptweeted 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.”

This isn’t just a customs fine, either. The civil penalties, Josh Rogin explains, could be $250,000 per violation. If pursued as a criminal matter, the fine could go as high as one million dollars — and 20 years in prison. That’s an awful lot of hard time for some awful “Bad Ass Vodka,” and perhaps the most awful photo op in recent memory. And Rogin, who should be read in full, thinks that Treasury will have a good case against Rodman if it chooses to pursue it.

Rodman won’t be able to respond immediately to the story, because he checked into rehab when he came back to the US after his visit to his good friend Kim Jong-un. His agent later said that Rodman was “embarrassed, saddened and remorseful for the anger and hurt his words have caused,” referring to when Rodman implied that American hostage Kenneth Bae — for whom Rodman publicly refused to lift a finger while in North Korea — was a criminal who deserved his detention. Expect more protestations of his embarrassment and remorse for these alleged violations of export laws and sanctions meant to keep a nuclear power from going off the rails.

However, I doubt that this will result in criminal prosecution. Civil fines will almost certainly follow if Rodman’s actions are shown to have violated the law, and they’ll probably be steep enough to keep him from offering “Bad Ass Vodka” to any more dictators in the future. I just don’t see Treasury going after Rodman with criminal charges all the way to a trial, even though they should if he broke the law, but they may use some to leverage a settlement on civil charges in the end.

How do you think Treasury should deal with Rodman, under the assumption that the charges are true and provable? Take the poll:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

He’s just a practitioner of the Paris Hilton “Any publicity is good publicity” philosophy. Goof job Hot Air for helping him.

Marcola on January 24, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Treasury probe for Rodman Obama critic for sanctions violations
POSTED AT 2:41 PM ON JANUARY 24, 2014 BY ED MORRISSEY

Fixed
/

verbaluce on January 24, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Charge him and let the courts hash it out. He has been flaunting crap like this for a long time. If he didn’t know it was against the law, that’s his problem. Let him haggle over a reduced sentence or plea bargain it down to something else.

Johnnyreb on January 24, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Hey, put him jail in his wedding dress!

Maybe make more think about doing the Hanoi Jane thing. This is just as bad as what she did. What’s next, Miley Cyrus going to Iran and crawling up on the Mullah’s lap and giving him all the looks he wanted?

Vanceone on January 24, 2014 at 2:48 PM

This will be an interesting ‘compare and contrast’ with the Dinesh D’Souza situation.

AUINSC on January 24, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Treasury probe for Rodman for sanctions violations

Rodman’s a tea party member?

Gatsu on January 24, 2014 at 2:50 PM

The Worm has turned.

Christien on January 24, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Sentence him to life imprisonment in a Stalinist gulag.

Mark1971 on January 24, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Don’t forget, he is one of Holders “peeps” you know. So he’s got that going for him…

Big John on January 24, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Since Rodman isnt going to jail because A) Obama, B) Holder, C) Celebrity, D) Black, E) Insane … how much taxpayer money are we going to waste to prosecute him? I mean, yeah, what is a couple hundred thousand dollars among taxpaying friends (compared to tens of trillions)? But why waste time on a kangaroo court that serves no purpose other than to remind Joe Citizen that celebrities arent held accountable to the same laws as us serfs? Maybe if Jerry Springer was the judge or defense counsel?

Jeddite on January 24, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Let loose the dogs…

Galtian on January 24, 2014 at 3:07 PM

“If we’d know this was happening we’d have torched the Pyongyang “embassy”, too.”

—–SoS Killary

Tasteless gifts? Moochelle is gonna be jealous!

viking01 on January 24, 2014 at 3:18 PM

What about that pilgrimage to Coooba by BigBootay and her pimp husband JayZ to worship cop killer AssHatta Shakur ?
Was that illegal ?

burrata on January 24, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Charge Rodman with the murder of 1% of the people who have died under the Kim dynastys brutal rule since his first trip.

If he publicly supports the regime, he should pay a just price for the blood they’ve spilled.

Alberta_Patriot on January 24, 2014 at 3:22 PM

What about that pilgrimage to Coooba by BigBootay and her pimp husband JayZ to worship cop killer AssHatta Shakur ?
Was that illegal ?

burrata on January 24, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Na, JayZ is way more popular than Rodman.

I mean, that’s how laws work now with Obama right? You can either EO them out of existence or be so popular AND tight with the Prez that they don’t affect you.

Gatsu on January 24, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Race card to be played in 3…2….1 ?

viking01 on January 24, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Na, JayZ is way more popular than Rodman.

I mean, that’s how laws work now with Obama right? You can either EO them out of existence or be so popular AND tight with the Prez that they don’t affect you.

Gatsu on January 24, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Looks like Rodman didn’t make Mooch happy and now he suffers :P

burrata on January 24, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Looks like Rodman didn’t make Mooch happy and now he suffers :P

burrata on January 24, 2014 at 3:31 PM

OR he sung them happy birthday after Beyonce did and just spoiled the mood.

Either theory is plausible IMO.

Gatsu on January 24, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Looks like Rodman didn’t make Mooch happy and now he suffers :P

burrata on January 24, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Moochie had her angry beady eyes set on that fur coat, preferably chinchilla, and now all hell breaks loose.

viking01 on January 24, 2014 at 3:35 PM

He should have just gone to Cuba for “humanitarian purposes”.

Guess it’s all a matter of who you donate to.

Amiright, verbalduece Beyonce

HumpBot Salvation on January 24, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Doesn’t matter. Prosecute him as much as you want. He’ll just make a few gifts to the right people and get a pardon.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 24, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Just say Soros and Boofay bought those gifts he brought to please their puppet Obama…

viking01 on January 24, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Not to worry. This will just turn out to be one of those laws that Barky chooses not to enforce…

Apparently we now have a la carte government.

bofh on January 24, 2014 at 3:56 PM

With the New Racism in the US injustice Justice Department I seriously doubt the black Rodman will be charged by the Black Holder

david kumbera on January 24, 2014 at 4:08 PM

What difference, at this point, does it make?!?!?!?

Priceless

Lanceman on January 24, 2014 at 4:26 PM

He is deserving a humiliating punishment…like made to wear a woman dress and…oh…wait…never mind..

ujorge on January 24, 2014 at 4:30 PM

The Worm has turned.

Christien on January 24, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Thread winner

Christien on January 24, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Rodman should have done it the right way,
like J-Lo, fittycent, bigBootay, j-Z, sting, hillary swank, nelly furtado and ofcourse mariah carey, who get to hang out with the mooch after seranading tyrants,
he should have pleased a muzzie tyrant to earn his creds.
He went for the wrong type of tyrant.
Moochy no likey !

burrata on January 24, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Charge him and let him bargain out to probation and a large fine.

He’s a clueless idiot, but he’s not a danger to the public, nor is he actually likely to improve from incarceration, so I fail to see why the taxpayers should have to shell out the cost of keeping him imprisoned.

Charge him to let him know they’re serious, fleece some cash off him so they’ll actually get something useful out of this exercise, and maybe he’ll think twice (or at least ask his lawyer) before cozying up to a tyrant again.

Ramadahl on January 24, 2014 at 5:14 PM

I don’t know that Obama prosecutes former NBA players. Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson got away with an awful lot….

ex Dem from Miami on January 24, 2014 at 7:07 PM

If DOJ prosecutes Rodman, will that make Eric Holder a racist?

Bitter Clinger on January 24, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Shred his passport please

notalemon on January 25, 2014 at 7:53 PM