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Legendary and notorious trader Marc Rich dies at 78

Keywords: Tags  Marc Rich, Marc Rich & Co., Philipp Brothers, CWT Group, Daniel Ammann, Glencore, Mark Burton

LONDON — Marc Rich, the commodities trader who founded Glencore International Plc and is credited with inventing the spot market for oil, has died after suffering a stroke in Lucerne, Switzerland, a spokesperson said June 26. He was 78.

Rich, who started his career trading alumina at Philipp Brothers Inc. before founding Marc Rich & Co. AG with colleague Pincus Green, came to the attention of the wider world in 1983, when he was indicted in the United States for alleged wire fraud, tax evasion and breaking a trade embargo with Iran. He was later placed on the FBI’s "most wanted" list, having fled to Switzerland hours before the indictment.

Rich spent the next decade building Marc Rich & Co. into the largest metals trading company in the world before selling his stake to senior management, who renamed it Glencore.

After spending years in exile pursued by federal prosecutors, Rich was controversially pardoned by President Bill Clinton on his last day in office in 2001.

Rich continued to live in Switzerland after the pardon. He ran Marc Rich & Co. Investment AG until 2003. MRI Trading, a wholly owned subsidiary of Marc Rich & Co., was later acquired by storage and logistics company CWT Group (, June 30, 2011).

Despite his one-time status as the world’s most famous fugitive, Rich rarely revealed details about his professional or personal life until 2009, when Switzerland-based journalist Daniel Ammann published The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich, based on extensive interviews with Rich.

Rich, who established various foundations, including the Swiss Foundation for the Doron Prize and the Marc Rich Foundation for Education, Culture and Welfare, was awarded three honorary doctorates in recognition of his philanthropic work.

Toward the end of his life, he ran Marc Rich & Co. Holding as a family office.

He is survived by two daughters and their families, a spokesman said.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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