Mystery of $ 5,800 bottle of Japanese whiskey: State Department investigation that disturbs Mike Pompeo.

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source: nytimes.com

US officials cannot receive gifts worth more than $ 415. Unfortunately, the Japanese government gave the expensive drink to the former secretary of state. It does not appear in the inventories.

The State Department is looking for an expensive bottle of whiskey that the government of Japan gave to Mike Pompeo when he was serving as US Secretary of State. The present, which is worth $ 5,800, was received by Pompeo in June 2019, according to a report on gifts to US officials from foreign governments presented by the State Department's chief of protocol. 

Pompeo attended the Group of 20 Top Economies summit in Osaka, Japan, earlier this month. However, his lawyer, William Burke, assures him that the former Trump minister has no recollection of receiving a bottle of whiskey and has no idea what happened to him.

Officials in the US Executive Branch have exact rules and limits on the gifts that can be kept. 

In theory, they can't cost more than $ 20, but there are exceptions.

They can accept them if their rejection "would likely cause offense, embarrassment, or negatively affect foreign relations." Still, they are considered property of the federal government. However, they cannot exceed $ 415. 

If they are more expensive, they should be delivered and become part of the National Archives or Museum archives. They can also buy it by sending a check for the estimated value from experts on the subject from the Treasury Department.

The Japanese whiskey in question is very high-end, costing even much more than the nearly $ 6,000 that the State Department valued it for. In 2019, the federal government received at least two other bottles of that whiskey: one for $ 8,374 that the Japanese government gave to former Trump aide Matthew Pottinger, and another for $ 2,525 and a pen whose sender was not disclosed, a common practice for gifts received by intelligence agents. Most Japanese whiskeys taste similar to those made in Ireland, Scotland, or the United States. But in recent years, the price of these drinks has risen dramatically to thousands or thousands of dollars. There is a huge demand by the wealthy collector, especially in Asia who will gladly pay the equivalent of a good sports car for a single bottle of ancient Japanese whiskey, "Stefan van Eycken, the author of the book" Whiskey Rising, "explained to the New York Times.