ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said the United States did not pay any money to North Korea as it sought the release of Otto Warmbier, a day after a report said Trump had approved a $2 million bill from Pyongyang for the American student's care.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Trump had approved payment of a $2 million bill from Pyongyang to cover its care of the comatose college student, who was held in a North Korean prison for 17 months until June 2017.
The Treasury Department received the bill from North Korea and it remained unpaid through 2017, the Post reported.
It was not clear whether the administration paid the invoice later.
Warmbier, a University of Virginia student from Ohio visiting North Korea as a tourist, was imprisoned in January 2016.
He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly trying to steal an item with a propaganda slogan from his hotel, North Korean state media said.
Warmbier died six days after his release from North Korea.
An Ohio coroner said Warmbier died from a lack of oxygen and blood to his brain.
North Korea, which has dismissed claims that it tortured the student, blamed food poisoning and a sleeping pill.
Last December, a U.S. court ordered North Korea to pay $501 million in damages for the torture and death of Warmbier.