Billionaire rogue trader Marc Rich dies at 78

David Gura Jun 26, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Billionaire rogue trader Marc Rich dies at 78

David Gura Jun 26, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Marc Rich, the oil trader famously (or infamously) pardoned by Bill Clinton at the end of his presidency, died today in Switzerland. He was 78. 

Switzerland is where he spent a lot of time since his days as a fugitive in the 1980s when he was trying to outrun charges of tax evasion and illegal trades with Iran. It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from Rich but his influence hasn’t faded. 

“Rich was the first of the celebrity Wall Street rogues and everyone else by comparison was, and is, an amateur,” said A. Craig Copetas, the author of “Metal Men: How Marc Rich Defrauded the Country, Evaded the Law, and Became the World’s Most Sought after Corporate Criminal.”

Rich’s trading group eventually became the global commodities giant Glencore Xstrata.

“He actually bought and sold the earth’s crust. Everything in your iPhone, your computer and your light bulb, Rich was involved in buying, selling and delivering,” said Copetas. “He invented the spot oil market and he’s the only individual in history to have successfully manipulated OPEC, the oil companies and ultimately the price of oil in the United States and the United States government.” 

Copetas said Rich made friends with some unfriendly governments overseas.

“And if the federal prosecutors had caught him at the time, they were ready to slap him with charges of treason that would make the kerfuffle over Edward Snowden look like a spat between two gerbils,” said Copetas. 

Rich secured a controversial pardon from Bill Clinton hours before he left office. He spent his remaining years at his home in Switzerland.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.

$5/month special ending soon!

Don’t wait: there’s less than 24 hours left to get (almost) any Marketplace thank-you gift.