Marc Rich

From Powerbase
Jump to: navigation, search

Marc Rich (1934-2013) was a leading global commodities trader.[1]

Early life

Rich was born Marcell David Reich in Antwerp, Belgium, on December 18 1934.[1] He was the only son of David Rich and Paula Rich-Wang.[2]

His father, David, was a door-to-door salesman.[1] Seeking to escape religious persecution during the Second World War, the family initially settled in Vichy France before moving to the United States in 1941. They lived with a relative in New York, before moving successively to Kansas City, Philadelphia and back to New York.[2]


Rich was educated at Rhodes preparatory school in Manhattan. He entered New York University in the autumn of 1952, but dropped out to take a job with Philipp Bros.[1][2]

Phillip Brothers

At the time Rich joined in 1954, Philipp Brothers was the leading trader of industrial metals. he started out as a 'lehrling' in the mailroom, before moving to the shipping department which handled physical transfers of commodities.[2][1]

As a junior trader, he first came to prominence by buying up mercury to sell to vehicle battery makers supplying the US Army in the wake of the Korean War.[3]

In 1958, he was sent to Cuba, and continued to do business there after the fall of the Batista regime.[4]

By the late 1960s he was running Phillip Bros' Madrid office.[1]

Rich's career took him to Phillip Brothers offices in Bolivia, the Netherlands, India, Spain and Switzerland. From 1964 to 1974, he managed the company's office in Madrid.[2]

In the early 1970s, Rich pioneered the 'spot' market for oil. Contacts with the Iranian royal family enabled him to profit from the first oil shock in 1973.[1]

The following year, Rich left Philippe Bros over its conservative approach to trading and refusal to pay him what he thought he was worth.[1]

Marc Rich & Co

In April 1974, Rich and his partners, Pincus Green and Alec Hackel, started their own trading firm, Marc Rich & Co AG (MRAG).[2] The company was based in Zug, Switzerland.[1] Additional offices were initially located in London and Madrid.[2]

Following the creation of March Rich & Co, Rich initially lived in London where his third daughter, Danielle, was born in March 1975. A subsidiary of the Swiss company was operating in New York from 1978.[2]

Marc Rich & Co did business with a number of controversial regimes, including Apartheid South Africa, Rumania and Chile.[1]


The initial funding for Marc Rich & Co was reportedly based on a promise of lucrative oil deals by Iranian senator Ali Rezai.[4]

In 1977, one of Rich's traders claimed to have deposited $125,000 in the Swiss bank account of Reza Fallah the head of the Iranian National Oil Company in return for securing an Iranian oil shipment to Spain.[4]

Rich continued to trade with Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.[1] Former CIA officer Vince Cannistraro has claimed that Rich was used a conduit for Israeli-Iranian contacts by Mossad.[5]

South Africa

Rich made profits of around $2 billion selling oil to Apartheid South Africa in violation of a UN embargo between 1979 and 1994.[6]


in 1978, Rich and Pincus Green were found to have diverted Nigerian oil to South Africa. Green paid a $1 million bribe to the Nigerian oil minister to regain his contract in the country.[4]


Rich reportedly paid Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga $45,000 to send the Jamaican track and field team to the 1984 Olympics. In return, Rich gained a 10-year contact for the product of a major aluminium plant owned by Alcoa in the country.[4]


According to a US Congressional report, Rich routinely used Panamanian shell companies to launder funds and conceal profits. One sucgh company was Rescor Incorporated.[7]

US oil trading scheme

In 1980-81, Rich allegedly made $100 million by re-labelling oil from old fields as newly developed, gaining a premium from regulations then in place.[8]


Rich moved to Switzerland in 1983.[2] In the same year, he was indicted by US Federal Prosecutor Rudy Guiliani, accused of evading taxes worth $48 million and trading illegally. He refused to return to the United States and was placed on the Justice Department's 'most wanted' list.[1]

On June 29, 1983 a US court ordered Rich to start paying a fine that would ultimately total $19 million. On that same day, Mr. Rich sold Marc Rich International to a new company called Clarendon Ltd, a company with the same directors, address and staff as Marc Rich International. Clarendon’s credit was personally guaranteed by Mr. Rich. The shift failed to convince the US courts that Marc Rich International no longer existed.[9]


In 1987, Marc Rich & Co was organised as Marc Rich & Co Holding AG, while the commodity trading business continued to operate as Marc Rich & Co AG.[10]

Glencore sale

In 1993, Rich sold his interest in the commodities trading section of the Marc Rich Group, Marc Rich + Co AG to its managers. The company, renamed Glencore International, held a 53 per cent interest in Südelektra Holding AG, which later became Xstrata.[2][11]

In 1996, Rich returned to the commodities industry with a new, smaller, trading group. This in turn was sold to its management in 2003.[12]

In 1997, the Marc Rich + Co Holding AG was reorganised as a GmbH.[13]

Twentieth Century Fox

In 1981, Rich bought a stake in Twentieth Century Fox which he later sold to Rupert Murdoch.[1]

Personal life

In 1966, Rich married shoe-manufacturing heiress Denise Eisenberg.[1] Their first child Ilona was born in August 1967. Their second child Gabrielle was born in January 1969.[2]

Rich began a relationship with German-born widow Gisela Rossi in 1989.[1]

Rich reached a reported $200 million divorce settlement with his first wife Denise in 1996.[1] In September 1996, their second daughter, Gabrielle died, after having suffered from Hodgkin's disease and then leukemia since the age of 23.[2]

Rich married Gisela Rossi in 1998. They divorced in 2005.[8]

Support for Israel

According to intelligence writer Yossi Melman, agreed at some point to work with Mossad as a 'sayan' or helper.[14]

In the mid-1980s, Rich established a special $400,000 fund that was used by Egypt to compensate the families of Israeli tourists killed by an Egyptian policeman in the Sinai. He was also reported to have been instrumental in assisting the searching for Israeli service personnel missing in action, and in the evacuation of Jews to Israel.[5]

Lobbying in Israel

Yossi Melman cites un-named Israeli Department of Justice officials as stating that rich engaged in a substantial lobbying campaign to ensure he would not be turned over to the US:

According to them, Rich paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to several prominent Israeli lawyers to use their influence and contacts on his behalf. Among them were Avner Hai-Shaki, a former minister of religion; Yaacov Neeman, who later became finance minister; and Amnon Goldenberg, an external legal advisor to the Mossad, Israel's foreign espionage agency.[5]

Pardon campaign

In 1995, US Middle East envoy Dennis Ross and Ambassador to Israel Martin S. Indyk, rebuffed senior Israeli officials, including then foreign minister, Shimon Peres, who asked that Rich be allowed greater freedom of movement around the world in order to support the economic development of the Occupied Territories in the framework of a peace agreement.[5]

In 2000, Rich hired Washington lawyers to negotiate a settlement with the US Government, and they in turn approached his ex-wife, Denise, a Democratic donor. At a fundraiser in November 2000, she presented President Bill Clinton with a golden saxophone. she reportedly asked for a pardon at the subsequent White House farewell dinner.[1]

Clinton issued a pardon hours before leaving office in January 2001. He later said that the outstanding allegations had been civil rather than criminal matters, and that he had received please in Rich's support from the Israeli Government.[1]

IDC Herzliya

Rich became an Honorary Fellow of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in 2008.[2] The IDC's Marc Rich library was named after Rich.


US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks feature a number of reports in which Rich is mentioned as a subject of discussion between US diplomats and local interlocutors. Several of these implied a continuing link between Rich and businesses run by his former partners.


In 2006, the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa speculated that Glencore and Trafigura could be co-operating on a bid for local fuel retailer DIPPSA:

While there are no confirmed talks or connections between Glencore and Trafigura regarding a Honduran bid, the two companies have historic connections (Note: The current owners of Trafigura previously worked for Marc Rich,s Glencore. End Note).[15]

Cote D'Ivoire

A US Embassy Officer in Cote D'Ivoire, cites the folllowing discussion with Safiatou Ba N'Daw, the PM's Chair of the Operational Coordinating Committee for the National Plan for Fighting Toxic Wastes:

Ba N'Daw discussed the case with EmbOff on the very day a lengthy, critical article in Soir Info (a generally sensationalist independent daily) quoted unnamed sources close to the President alleging she pocketed $6 million in administrative funds. She spun a tale implicating the President in an attempt to silence her, alleging the Presidency's collusion with Trafigura and hinting that former Trafigura CEO Marc Rich maintains some role in the company and the present matter.[16]


The US Embassy in Sofia reported in 2005, that businessman Nikola Damyanov was reported to have links to Marc Rich.[17]


A November 2006 report by the US Embassy in Bucharest linked Rich to Bulgarian consultant Stamen Stancev:

Press reports have linked Stancev to controversial business ventures Alro Slatina (owned by the Russian-controlled Marco Group) and Rosia Montana and to Glencore Ltd., controlled by Marc Rich.[18]

Economic officers from the US Embassy in Bucharest reported the following conversation with Romania's richest man, Dinu Patriciu, on February 6 2008:

Patriciu wants to modernize the trading of oil from the Former Soviet Union, a process which he felt was set back by companies like Marc Rich's Glencore, which primed the pumps of corruption, insulated the markets from competition, and did not bother to

build efficient organizations and infrastructure.[19]


The Rich Foundations


External resources


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 Marc Rich, Telegraph, 26 June 2013.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 A short biography,, accessed 2 September 2013.
  3. Marc Rich, The Economist, 6 July 2013.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 *House Report 107-454,Volume 1 - JUSTICE UNDONE: CLEMENCY DECISIONS IN THE CLINTON WHITE HOUSE, US Congress, 2002, p.108, via Google Books.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 James Risen with Alison Leigh Cowan, U.S. Diplomats Turned Aside Israeli Push on Rich's Behalf, New York Times, 17 February 2011.
  6. Marc Rich, The Economist, 6 July 2013.
  7. *House Report 107-454,Volume 1 - JUSTICE UNDONE: CLEMENCY DECISIONS IN THE CLINTON WHITE HOUSE, US Congress, 2002, p.109, via Google Books.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Douglas Martin, Marc Rich, Financier and Famous Fugitive, Dies at 78, New York Times, 27 June 2013.
  9. A. Craig Copetas, Metal Men - Marc Rich and the $10 billion dollar scam,, 1999, p.xiii.
  10. The Marc Rich Group: History and Company Profile,, accessed 2 September 2013.
  11. The Marc Rich Group: History and Company Profile,, accessed 2 September 2013.
  12. The Marc Rich Group: History and Company Profile,, accessed 2 September 2013.
  13. The Marc Rich Group: History and Company Profile,, accessed 2 September 2013.
  14. Yossi Melman, All the Fugitive's Men in Israel, Los Angeles Times, 25 February 2001.
  15. Honduran Fuel Bid: Trafigura May Increase Stake In Dippsa; A Free Market Plan Under Consideration, US Embassy Tegucigalpa, 28 October 2006, released by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
  16. $190 Million Settlement By Trafigura Of Toxic Waste Scandal Provokes Outcry, Shows President Firmly In Charge, US Embassy Abidjan, 1 March 2007, released by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
  17. Bulgaria's Crackdown On Organized Crime: Is It Real Or Is It Memorex?, US Embassy Sofia, 2 November 2005, released by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
  18. Romania - Energy Scandal Unfurling, Amcit Held On "economic Espionage" Charges, US Embassy Bucharest, 29 November 2006, released by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
  19. Romania: Rompetrol's Dinu Patriciu On Energy In The Balkans And Black Sea, US Embassy Bucharest, 21 February 2008, released by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
  20. Byron York, Bad Night for the GOP,, 2 March 2001.