Paddy Power in hot water over gifts for Kim Jong Un
Published 11/01/2014 | 02:30
GIFTS from betting shop Paddy Power to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which included an Irish Whiskey set, may have contravened UN sanctions, it has emerged.
The betting shop giant, which sponsored US basketball star Dennis Rodman's controversial trip to North Korea this week, said it sent the gifts but was "satisfied" that sanctions had not been broken.
It said Rodman had brought an Irish Whiskey set with a bottle of Jameson, a decanter and two glasses, along with a traditional baby dress and a handbag as gifts for the leader.
A Paddy Power spokesman added: "I can confirm that we didn't buy anything else for Dennis to give to Kim."
Details of the gifts come after accusations surfaced that Rodman gave thousands of dollars of presents to Kim Jong Un in December, which allegedly included several hundred dollars worth of Irish whiskey.
But the Paddy Power spokesman said the value of the gifts had been "vastly overestimated".
Rodman was in North Korea this week as he had organised a friendly basketball game to mark the North Korean leader's birthday.
The storm over the gifts to Kim Jong Un erupted after former US consul to Busan, Dennis Halpin, claimed the total cost of birthday gifts brought by Rodman were "reportedly well over $10,000".
The Paddy Power spokesman responded: "We never comment on budget or costs so I can't confirm the total value, but it was a fraction of your source's estimation."
He said: "We are satisfied that we haven't breached any export control sanctions in relation to this matter. On our pre-Christmas visit to North Korea we brought items of modest value as a token gesture as recommended by a North Korean protocol adviser."
Chad O'Carroll and Clodagh Sheehy