Tuesday January 14 ,2014 : BIRTHDAY GIFT DID NOT BREAK U.N. SANCTIONS, SAYS GAMBLING FIRM
All we did was give North Korean dictator a whiskey set, says Paddy Power.
Courting controversy to generate publicity is one thing, but breaking international political and business sanctions is quite another, and is a point worth considering by online gambling marketers following media reports in the UK media this week.
The issue surfaced after reports that online and land gambling group Paddy Power had partly sponsored a basketball-diplomacy initiative by Dennis Rodman, a former American NBA star who is friendly with Kim Jong Un, the dictator of reclusive and human rights-challenged North Korea.
Paddy Power subsequently dropped the sponsorship, but not before it had generated loads of international publicity around its association with the North Korean leader.
That, and reports of birthday gifts to Kim Jong Un of Irish crystal, whiskey and other luxuries, prompted the Associated Press news agency to question whether, in its quest for coverage, the gambling company and its basketball frontman had broken UN sanctions imposed on North Korea for its alleged arms-grade nuclear ambitions.
UK news reports over the weekend claimed that Paddy Power has issued a statement to South Korean news outlets, clarifying that it had in December sent a bottle of Irish whiskey, a decanter and two glasses for Kim Jong Un's 31st birthday – presumably via Rodman – but that this hardly constituted a breach of UN sanctions.
Other reports indicated that Paddy was more generous than that, and had provided around six thousand pound's worth of classy clob as well…still hardly a major international sanctions breach!