Marc Rich dies, ending a long, strange saga
Notorious on many counts, including a last-minute pardon by President Bill Clinton, the rogue financier had a pretty cushy life on the lam.
As NBC News noted in 2001, after fleeing the U.S. in 1983 ahead of being indicted for illegal oil trading with Iran, tax evasion and racketeering, Rich enjoyed a lifestyle that most people would envy. He decorated his Swiss mansion with fine art, including works by Pablo Picasso, his favorite artist. When Rich decided to go on vacation, he could travel to his properties in the swanky Swiss resort St. Moritz or the posh Spanish beach resort of Marabella.
Rich (pictured in 2007) had renounced his U.S. citizenship and managed to avoid capture by law enforcement a few times, according to media reports. Authorities in Switzerland refused to extradite him because tax evasion there isn't considered a crime. He also won over people in Switzerland and Israel, thanks to his charitable works.
One thing is for sure: Nothing stood between Rich and making a buck.
While 52 Americans were being held hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Iran under brutal conditions, Rich and his partner Pincus Green made a fortune trading with Ayatollah Khomeini's regime despite a strict trade embargo. He also exploited the energy crisis in the U.S. by secretly buying millions of barrels of Texas crude, then under price controls, and selling it on the open market for a $100 million profit. Along the way, Rich sold the 20th Century Fox film studio for $250 million.
Ironically, Rich's companies continued to do business with the U.S. government while he evaded attempts to bring him to justice. As Bloomberg News noted, congressional investigators in 1985 discovered that Rich's Swiss grain business had generated almost $100 million in sales through an Agriculture Department program.
His empire also sold $30 million of nickel, copper and zinc to the U.S. Mint and got assistance to buy an alumina plant in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Rich, who always maintained his innocence, made headlines again when he was given a pardon by President Bill Clinton on his last day in office. As The New York Times noted, last-minute pardons are not unusual, "but this one raised a furor."
That may be an understatement. Republicans were outraged because Denise Rich, Marc's ex-wife, was a donor to the Clinton Presidential Library. It was a black mark on Clinton's legacy. Denise Rich renounced her U.S. citizenship last year.
Marc Rich's career was on the skids in the past few years. He sold Marc Rich & Co. in 2004 after bets he made on the zinc market went sour and the company faced bankruptcy. That company is now known as Glencore Xstrata. Forbes dropped Rich from its Forbes 400 list of the 400 wealthiest Americans in 2010, "given a lack of information and evidence of sufficient wealth."
Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.
another billionaire dies to the equalizer and now he answers to god. Made his money smuggling and renounced his citizenship when he was asked to pay taxes. If you ever need an example of why i despise the rich this guy is perfect. Being an american means nothing to the rich their only love is self and money
The loser stole millions, but the useless Feds are to busy digging up Hoffa's remains. Get rid of them all.
Another example of "law abiding" democrats who pilfer the world and avoid taxes while getting a get out of jail free card from the President they paid for. Sounds like President Obama and George Soros all over again.
Another match made in political heaven.
Yeah Yeah - The Clintons needed the cash for their library. What else is new for Democrats.
Now - Everybody remember this when Hillary raises her ugly head again.
Let us not forget what was called in 2001 "Clinton Fatigue."
The U.S. was worn out by Clintons' ongoing pattern of loose with the facts, head-shaking moments of personal arrogance and policy missteps.
Mark Rich was in a long line of Clinton Fatigue episodes.
The bastard dealing with the Iranians. Oh wait, this from Wikipedia:
During the , senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to , the subject of an Some U.S. officials also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the . Under the , further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.
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