Commodities guru Marc Rich dies after stroke

Suzie Neuwirth
BILLIONAIRE financier, Glencore founder and former US fugitive Marc Rich died yesterday in Switzerland at the age of 78.

Belgian-born Rich fled the Holocaust for the US in the forties and became one of the pioneers of modern commodities trading. He is considered the inventor of spot markets for crude oil.

In 1993 he sold his company Marc Rich & Co to its management. The firm was subsequently renamed Glencore and is now part of the merged commodities trading house Glencore Xstrata.

Rich gained notoriety in the eighties when he fled the US for Switzerland to escape a number of charges, namely exploiting the US embargo against Iran to make huge profits on Iranian oil sales, as well as tax evasion.

However, in a controversial move, President Clinton pardoned him in the last days of his presidency in 2001, which critics claimed was due to Rich’s ex-wife’s plentiful donations to the Democratic Party. She denied the claim.

Rich passed away in hospital in Lucerne as a result of a brain stroke and will be brought to Israel for burial, according to a statement from his spokesperson.

“We are saddened to hear of the death of Marc,” said Glencore Xstrata chief executive Ivan Glasenberg.

“He was a friend and one of the great pioneers of the commodities trading industry, founding the company that became Glencore. Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with his family at this time.”