WASHINGTON (AA): U.S. President Donald Trump denied Friday reports that Washington paid $2 million to secure the release of an American detained in North Korea.
“No money was paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier, not two Million Dollars, not anything else,” Trump said on Twitter.
Warmbier was returned to the U.S. in a near-comatose state after being held in North Korean captivity for roughly a year-and-a-half. He died less than a week after returning home.
He went to North Korea on a tour and was convicted of charges related to his pulling down of a propaganda poster.
North Korean officials presented the U.S. with a $2 million bill for Warmbier’s care, an invoice the envoy sent to retrieve him signed off on, the Washington Post newspaper reported.
The Post said the bill was sent to the Treasury Department, but went unpaid, citing two anonymous officials.
Trump cited an anonymous negotiator, who he quoted as praising his negotiating skills.
“‘President Donald J. Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator that I know of in the history of the United States. 20 hostages, many in impossible circumstances, have been released in last two years. No money was paid.’ Chief [sic] Hostage Negotiator, USA!'” Trump wrote in a follow-up tweet.
It is unclear to whom Trump is referring to in the post.
Fred and Cindy Warmbier, Otto’s parents, sued North Korea over their son’s death and were awarded $500 million by a U.S. judge. That money is unlikely to ever be paid.