US Handed $2M Bill for Release of Comatose American Otto Warmbier Held in N. Korea

April 25, 2019 - 11:02 am

(KNX 1070) -- According to a recent story by The Washington Post, North Korea handed a bill for $2 million to a U.S. official to sign before allowing the comatose body of American student Otto Warmbier to leave Pyongyang in 2017.

The U.S. envoy agreed to pay the medical bill at the behest of President Trump, according to Washington Post sources. 

The bill remained in the Treasury Department unpaid throughout 2017 and it is unknown whether it was ultimately paid by the Trump administration or whether it was ever discussed during either of the two Trump-Kim Jong Un summits. Trump has maintained that he paid "nothing" to rescue the American hostages from North Korea. 

Warmbier was convicted in 2016 on a charge of illegally removing a propaganda sign from a Pyongyang hotel. He was 21-years-old at the time of his sentencing, and it remains unknown why he fell into a coma at the time. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. 

When the Ameican doctor was sent to N. Korea on a medical evacuation plane, to retrieve Warmbier's body, he tells the Post he was confronted by North Korean officials with the bill. He called then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Tillerson called the president, who gave the instructions to sign the document agreeing to pay the $2 million. 

This story is based on a Washington Post exclusive.