News Column

Marc Rich Dies at 78

June 26, 2013

Commodity trader Marc Rich, who was once on the United States most-wanted list for deals with controversial countries, died at the age of 78 in Switzerland on Wednesday.

He died of a stroke in Lucerne, the spokesman of his investment firm The Marc Rich Group told Swiss news agency sda.

Rich was an intermediary trader between oil producers, refiners and consumers who has been credited with developing the spot market for oil in the 1960s and 1970s.

His business helped to replace long-term supply contracts dominated by Western oil firms with short-term deals that led to a more transparent formation of prices.

Rich was born in 1934 as the son of German and Polish Jews in Antwerpen, Netherlands.

In 1974 he founded a commodity trading firm that is now named Glencore Xstrata, one of the world's biggest mining and raw materials trading firms.

Rich supplied oil to South Africa's Apartheid regime despite a UN embargo, marketed Cuban raw materials, and sold Iranian oil to Israel after the Islamic revolution.

He was indicted in the United States in 1983 for doing business with Iran and for tax evasion, facing a sentence totalling 325 years in prison.

The businessman sought refuge in Switzerland and stood on the country's most-wanted list until he was pardoned in 2001.

Rich left his company and sold his shares in the early 1990s. He later set up the smaller-scale The Marc Rich Group.

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Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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