Matt Damon & John Krasinski Tap Into Bill Clinton-Pardoned Fugitive Marc Rich Tale ‘The King Of Oil’

EXCLUSIVE: Matt Damon is in the early stages of attaching to star as the fugitive billionaire commodities trader Marc Rich in The King of Oil. Universal Pictures has optioned the project for Sunday Night Productions, which is John Krasinski’s production banner. Sources said Krasinski, who’s coming off the sleeper smash A Quiet Place, might eventually direct the film, but I’m being told right now that is premature.

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Glencore’s Zinc Rationale Defies History

bloomberg“You shut up!/No, YOU shut up!” is how schoolyard scuffles kick off. Miners tweak it slightly to: “You shut down!/No, YOU shut down!” Ivan Glasenberg, the chief executive of Glencore, has long bemoaned miners’ tendency to literally dig themselves into a hole with too much supply. As concern about Glencore’s swollen debt has hit the stock price, Glasenberg has recently taken himself at his word, ordering a temporary shutdown of some of the company’s zinc output. That caused the price of the metal to jump 10 percent last Friday. But history suggests Glencore’s fight to raise zinc prices sustainably could be a tough one.

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Glencore’s Biggest Risk Is Hiding in Plain Sight

bloombergWhat you don’t know can hurt you, so it’s understandable that analysts have raised questions about Glencore’s opaque commodity-trading business. Without the ability to work out how it makes money, the unit is a “black box,” according to Morningstar’s David Wang. But there’s more to fear from what’s in plain sight. Capital spending has been the biggest single drain on Glencore’s cash flow in every year since it started the takeover of Xstrata in 2012

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Oil King Marc Rich Dead At 78

forbes_logo_mainCommodities kingpin and fugitive American ex-pat Marc Rich died today from a stroke at the age of 78 in a hospital in Lucerne, Switzerland. Rich was the founder in 1974 of Marc Rich & Co. AG, a pioneering oil-trading firm. Beginning with a management buyout in 1994, the firm eventually became what is today Glencore Xstrata, the world’s largest commodities trading house. The Belgian-born Rich started out at the bottom but became a powerful and shadowy figure in financial circles.

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Viterra: Glencore’s Roots

Marc Rich did business with Ayatollah Khomeini and Fidel Castro, lost millions in a divorce settlement, and was once pardoned by President Bill Clinton. So what does the businessman and former fugitive have to do with Saskatchewan?

His company became Glencore who is rumoured to have made a bid for Viterra. Sheila speaks with Daniel Ammann. He is the author of ” The King of Oil- the secret lives of Marc Rich.”:

Chinese Traders Poised to Profit From Iran Oil Embargo

Europe’s decision to embargo Iranian oil exports is strategically sound, since a nuclear-armed Iran is in no one’s interest. Yet, policymakers are overlooking how an embargo may strategically reshape the global oil trade in China’s favor. Major Chinese oil traders are building businesses that are world class in terms of volumes traded. The latest oil embargo will help them further their ambitions.

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Glencore IPO Pushes Ex-Fugitive Billionaire Marc Rich Out Of The Shadows

In the run-up to last week’s much-hyped IPO, commodities giant Glencore appeared to make a concerted effort to distance itself from its founder, the infamous one-time fugitive Marc Rich.  Glencore’s IPO prospectus ran 1,637 pages long, but the company’s original name — Marc Rich & Co — was mentioned just three times. A search for Rich’s name on the website of the newly-listed firm brings up zero results.

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The Man Revolutionised Commodities Trading

In the discreet commodities trading business, Marc Rich, the founder of commodities giant Glencore, cuts a controversial figure. While he was pursued for decades by US justice on accusations of tax evasion and illegal trading with Iran before finally being pardoned, Rich has also been credited with revolutionising commodities trading through a firm he founded 37 years ago, called Marc Rich + Co, later named Glencore.Read More »

Founding father backs Glencore IPO

Marc Rich, founder of the Swiss trading house that evolved into Glencore, says the group has little choice but to become a public company, despite believing that secrecy is an advantage in the commodities market. In his first interview in at least 20 years, Mr Rich backed Glencore’s steps to become a public company this year and even said he planned to buy shares in the business that he sold in 1993.Read More »

The Financial Times on The King of Oil

The Financial Times just published an excellent article about Glencore, its origin and its future. The King of Oil – The Secret Lives of Marc Rich was an important source and is quoted in the article:

Amid such profound changes, Glencore started to plot a new future. Such plans will move the group further from its origins under Marc Rich, an oil trader who founded the business under the name of Marc Rich + Co in 1974, and sold to management in 1993. According to Daniel Ammann’s book, The Secret Lives of Marc Rich, the founder – who made a lot of money from deals with countries shunned by others, such as apartheid South Africa and Iran – sold the company to management for about $600m, a figure Mr Rich said was not far from reality.Read More »

Why Sanctions Against Iran Will (Almost Surely) Fail

Iran is coming under even greater pressure to curb its nuclear program. The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote soon on a fresh round of sanctions against the country. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the draft resolution is even “somewhat stronger” than he expected. According to the New York Times, even the very lucrative energy sector is mentioned in the preamble, noting the “potential connection between Iran’s revenues derived from its energy sector” and possible financing for its nuclear program.Read More »

“Sanctions On Iran Will Fail”

Hillary Clinton telling Iran that the US is looking for sanctions that bite is like telling them they’re going to be grounded and cannot go outside. Sanctions don’t work as far as political threats are concerned in the Middle East – at best they are “hit or miss.” And as reported in Daniel Ammann’s new book, The King of Oil, Israel got 60-90% of its oil from Iran at a time that they weren’t officially recognized because it was in everyone’s interest to be business partners although publicly they had to “not save face” and remain bitter enemies.

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Forbes – The World’s Billionaires

#937 Marc Rich

Net Worth: $1.0 bil
Fortune: Self Made
Source: commodities
Age: 75
Country Of Citizenship: United States
Residence: Meggen
Education: New York U, Drop Out
Marital Status: Divorced, 2 children

NYU dropout started career in mail room of Philipp Brothers in 1954. With long-term partner Pincus Green, built Phibro into world’s largest trader of oil, grain, metals. Left mid-1970s, founded Marc Rich & Co. Fled to Europe 1983 after being indicted for trading with Iran during hostage crisis, evading $50 million in taxes. Duo pardoned by Clinton 2001. Born in Antwerp, Belgium 1934, spent childhood in Philadelphia, Kansas City, New York. Now resides in Switzerland; has given more than $100 million to Jewish causes and leukemia research. Lost millions to Madoff. Net worth estimate likely low.

Recent book by Swiss journalist Daniel Ammann says Rich revealed in interviews his extensive dealings with Iran, Cuba, South Africa; said he provided intelligence to U.S. diplomats about regimes while on the run.


“Glencore is Marc Rich’s legacy”

It’s a well-known fact that oil made Marc Rich the world’s richest and most powerful commodities trader. Oil also made Rich – born Marcell David Reich – infamous around the world for his illegal deals with Iran during the hostage crisis almost 30 years ago. But what few people know is that metals – rather than oil – are responsible for kicking off and ultimately ending his career, Daniel Ammann, author of Rich biography “The King of Oil” reveals.Read More »

“Monsieur Ndolo”

Published in the United States last month, the biography of the legendary trader Marc Rich (Daniel Ammann, The King of Oil, published by St. Martin’s Press) could be read as a Who’s Who in African oil. Names such as Jacques Hachuel and Alexander Hackel crop up as well as that of a mysterious “Monsieur Ndolo.” This was the pseudonym of a French trader who headed the Compagnie Burundaise de Commerce (Cobuco) that was owned in equal halves by the Burundi government and Marc Rich + Co. In the 1980s, Cobuco bought Iranian crude. Officially to meet Burundi’s needs, the oil was in fact sold on to international markets. As for Marc Rich +Co, it made billions by supplying oil to South Africa during the apartheid era in defiance of sanctions. Rich also set up the trading department of Sonangol in Angola.

Copyright 2009 Indigo Publications

“An Invaluable Tip from the King of Oil”

He’s been called the “King of Oil.” He made hundreds of millions of dollars by foreseeing the surges in oil prices of the 1970s. When the oil market was dominated by a handful of large oil companies (the Seven Sisters), he took them on…and won.

He’s an entrepreneur, a billionaire, and at one point in time was one of the most controversial fugitives of the 20th century. Think what you will about Marc Rich, but no one can deny he has made a fortune by being right at the right time when it comes to geopolitics and commodity prices.

Now he’s making his view of the future available for everyone. And just like his trading ideas in the 60s and 70s, his expectations may go unnoticed by the majority, but they have a good chance at making a lot of money for those willing to listen now.Read More »

“Glencore as Israel’s Wild Card”

To deprive Iran of gasoline and force the country to come to the negotiating table regarding its nuclear program, Western nations are turning up the heat on traders who supply Tehran with oil products. While the United States is threatening to adopt a new sanctions bill, Israel is clearly preferring to use its special relations with the world’s leading trading concern, Switzerland’s Glencore, which had annual sales of SFR 165 billion in 2008, to pressure the Iranians. The group, which was long named Marc Rich + Co, has enjoyed excellent relations with Tel Aviv for nearly 40 years.Read More »

Marc Rich – The King of Oil

Ludwig von Mises Institute

To hear author Daniel Ammann tell the story, Marc Rich was run out of the United States. If his thesis is correct, President Clinton’s pardon of Rich (and Pinkus Green for that matter) should have been just the beginning of an apology the size of which could be immeasurable. At the heart of Ammann’s book, The King of Oil, is the life of Marc Rich who created what is known as the spot market for crude oil.Read More »

Fuel Supplier Cutting Off Iran on Behalf of Israel

The Swiss trading company “Glencore” is cooperating with Israel and reducing oil supplies to Iran while continuing to ship to Israel in order to force Iran to negotiate over its nuclear  program, according to the Paris-based Intelligence Online newsletter. “Although it doesn’t hesitate to deal with countries even more isolated than Iran, Glencore appears to have abandoned Tehran in favor of one of its oldest and most loyal customers, Israel,” the newsletter said.Read More »

“We were all against Apartheid”

The Independent (South Africa), Nov 20, 2009

By Fiona Forde

Daniel Ammann had been knocking on Marc Rich’s door for more than seven years, but the notorious billionaire fugitive financier refused to budge. “I used to write. Then send faxes and emails, a few times a year,” the 45-year-old Swiss business journalist recalls, but the answer was always the same: “No interviews.” But all that changed in December 2006 when the infamous commodities trader who had done business with brutal dictatorships and regimes, South Africa’s among them, agreed to talk. “It’s because of age and maturity,” he would later tell Ammann.Read More »

“A must-read, a Psychological Thriller”

bg_logoMarc Rich Meets Che, Bribes Thugs, Regrets Nothing

Review by A. Craig Copetas The King of Oil

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) — Long ago, in the courtrooms of ancient Athens, hubris was a crime and judges weren’t shy about convicting. Sometimes the penalty was left in the hands of a higher authority. “After hubris,” the saying went, “comes Nemesis,” the goddess of justice Zeus appointed to visit Earth in the form of a goose. Not even King Croesus was able to buy Nemesis off.

“The King of Oil,” by Daniel Ammann, is the mostly familiar tale of how the infamous American, Israeli and Spanish multibillionaire commodity trader Marc Rich — the inventor of the spot-oil market and for nearly two decades the most-wanted white-collar fugitive in America — did what Croesus could not and cooked the goose.

Ammann’s biography, written with Rich’s cooperation, is a briskly paced primer on how to get off the hook, a must-read for any businessman facing federal indictment and a guaranteed tear- jerker for the U.S. white-collar prison population.Read More »

Marc Rich Spills His Secrets

The fugitive financier’s biographer talks to Allan Dodds Frank about Rich’s global commodities empire, his connection to U.S. intelligence, and how he bribed world leaders.

Everyone has a favorite fugitive. Hollywood loves Roman Polanski; the Taliban worship Osama bin Laden. For me and dozens of other reporters who have intermittently chased Marc Rich over the last three decades, the commodities trader has been the man most tantalizingly on the lam.

Now comes the journalistic coup by Daniel Ammann, an intrepid Swiss business journalist who, after years of trying to interview Rich, sits down, writes him a long letter full of loaded questions, and astonishingly convinces Rich to be interviewed at length—on the record—for The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich. Much of Rich’s story has long been suspected, but hard to prove.Read More »

“King of oil” discloses his “secret lives”


Commodity trader Marc Rich admits he’s been painted as a “devil”, but a new book by a Swiss journalist describes the billionaire as neither saint nor sinner.

Daniel Ammann, who interviewed Rich extensively for his book, The King of Oil, told how an oil pipeline through Israel – a joint venture between Iran and Israel – was one of Rich’s greatest successes at a time when the two countries were seemingly impossible trading partners.Read More »

The New York Times on The King of Oil


October 16, 2009

By JAD MOUAWAD – Marc Rich, the former fugitive oil trader long criticized for his business ties to nations like Iran, South Africa and Cuba, has acknowledged in a new book that his dealings with those nations were more extensive than previously disclosed.

In more than 30 hours of conversations with a Swiss journalist, Daniel Ammann, the usually tight-lipped Mr. Rich gave an extensive account of his oil trading from the 1970s through the 1990s.Read More »

Bloomberg: “King of Oil” is Top 5 Nonfiction Book



With so many books in the stores, we’re often asked for recommendations. Here’s a list of recent nonfiction books.

“The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich” by Daniel Ammann. Published by St. Martin’s Press.

This biography, written with the cooperation of the infamous multibillionaire commodity trader Marc Rich, is a briskly paced primer on how to get off the hook, a must-read for any businessman facing federal indictment and a guaranteed tear- jerker for the U.S. white-collar prison population. It’s a psychological thriller and a gleeful celebration of asocial justice and why the sound application of money will always beat the odds and embarrass the gods.

A month ago Bloomberg already named The King of Oil one of the five best Business Books of recent months:

“Trading with the enemy”


(South Africa, November 1, 2009) The King of Oil

Marc Rich, the international oil dealer once wanted in the US for trading with the enemy until pardoned by President Bill Clinton, secretly satisfied nearly all of apartheid South Africa’s oil demands for more than a decade in spite of international oil embargoes, and then continued doing business with the Mandela government after apartheid collapsed, according to a new book.Read More »

“The Saga of a Business Genius”

Taylor Conant,, Nov 1, 2009

The popular telling of the myth of the crimes of Marc Rich almost perfectly captures the modern American zeitgeist– a businessman, the most evil and exploitative kind of villain that can plague a nation of honest and earnest people, sought to earn a profit via oil trades with the enemy (post-Revolution Iran) during a time of national crisis and embargo (the embarrassingly stupid hostage situation in Tehran circa 1979), evaded his tax obligations and then had the sheer nerve (or perhaps deep well of pure, black hatred within his heart) to refuse to stand trial for his crimes by fleeing to neutral Switzerland, using his enormous, illegally-acquired and not to mention positively unsightly personal wealth to buy himself immunity — and eventually a full pardon — from a criminal justice system to which lesser mortals must pay heed.Read More »

“They might still have an unpaid parking ticket”


Marc Rich, the billionaire financier infamously pardoned by Bill Clinton, says he’s never returning to the United States. Rich fled to Switzerland in the 1980s after charges of tax evasion and claims it’s still not safe to set foot in this country. U.S. authorities “would look for some excuse to apprehend me,” Rich says in a new book by journalist Daniel Ammann. “They might still have an unpaid parking ticket of mine from 30 years ago.” Hmmm … fugitive in exile, Swiss authorities — maybe he should visit Roman Polanski at his undisclosed location?

«I was an easy target»


October 11, 2009

President Clinton set off a furor by granting him a pardon. But, even after 26 years in exile, billionaire Marc Rich vows he will “never” set foot in America again.

Rich, who fled to Switzerland rather than face prosecution for tax evasion and trading with the enemy, says in a new bio that the public outcry over the pardon told him it still isn’t safe to come home.

“[U.S. authorities] would look for some excuse to apprehend me,” the elusive commodities trading wizard tells Daniel Ammann in “The King of Oil.” “They might still have an upaid parking ticket of mine from 30 years ago.”Read More »

«Rich’s willingness to help out the Mossad»



The United States offers at least as much to those who crave profits as it does to those who follow prophets. Marc Rich falls into the former camp: born in Belgium, he arrived in New York in 1942 with his parents at the age of eight, and soon set his sights on amassing a world-class fortune. He did so, in part, by trading commodities with Iran, Cuba, Angola, and South Africa; his convictions for such dealings and for tax evasion were famously pardoned by Bill Clinton. In The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich (St. Martin’s, October), Daniel Ammann calls the elusive billionaire’s story “both typically American and typically Jewish,” and describes Rich’s willingness to help out the Mossad on occasion through his extensive network of contacts in Iran and Syria.

«Compelling Story»


The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich. Ammann, Daniel (author). Oct. 2009. 320p. illus. hardcover, $26.99 (9780312570743). 381. 

book_imageMarc Rich came to the U.S. as a poor Jewish Holocaust refugee and became one of the world’s richest and most powerful commodities traders, single-handedly breaking the lock on the oil market held by the cartel of Big Oil by inventing the first fully functioning spot oil market. Yet he is not known the world over for his vast entrepreneurial achievements, but rather for fleeing the country in 1983 to avoid charges of tax evasion, and for the controversial last-minute pardon by President Clinton in 2001. For the first time, Rich speaks out about his career, his private life, and the case that cost him his reputation, his wife, and his company. Ammann gives a fair and balanced portrait of this shrewd businessman, who was attacked for political gain by zealous prosecutors, vilified in the media, and dogged by U.S. Marshals, who attempted for 17 years to kidnap him illegally. While the moral debate about Rich’s activities will surely continue, Ammann presents a compelling story of a life of intrigue, espionage, and brazen chutzpah. David Siegfried

«Remarkable Book»


Ammann, Daniel. The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2009. c.320p. illus. index. ISBN 978-0-312-57074-3. $26.99. BUS

Swiss journalist Ammann surely got the scoop of his career when notorious commodities trader Marc Rich agreed to meet with him, which resulted in this remarkable book. Rich fled to Switzerland in 1983 to avoid prosecution for tax fraud; President Clinton’s last-day pardon of Rich ignited a firestorm of controversy. As Ammann rightly claims, very little was known about this “most successful and controversial commodities trader the world has ever seen.” He offers rare insight into Rich’s youth in a Belgian Jewish family who narrowly escaped the Nazis, shows how Rich became involved in the earliest stages of commodities trading, and credits him with inventing the “spot oil market,” which ultimately ended control by the “seven sisters” cartel companies (hence the book’s title). But it’s in regard to Rich’s involvement with foreign countries, especially Israel, that Ammann provides the most significant new disclosures. Is Rich a rogue or a philanthropic businessman? Ammann lets readers draw their own conclusion.

VERDICT This book reads like a cross between a rags-to-riches saga and a cloak-and-dagger thriller, but it’s also an excellent and timely primer on the world of commodities trading within a global economy and will greatly appeal to readers interested in current events. — Richard Drezen, Brooklyn, NY

«Nuanced Portrait»


The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich Daniel Ammann. St. Martin’s. $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-57074-3

An empathetic look at the notorious Marc Rich, one of the most successful and controversial commodities traders in recent history and a key figure in the invention of the spot market. With unparalleled access to Rich, his family and associates, business journalist Ammann paints a nuanced portrait of the man vilified for trading with Iran and apartheid-era South Africa, accused of being the biggest tax fraudster in U.S. history and recipient of an infamous presidential pardon. At the pinnacle of his power, Rich presided over a multinational empire, and his opinion on “key people in power” in various “rogue” nations was routinely, if clandestinely, sought by the State Department despite his criminal status. Rich has scrupulously guarded his personal history, but Ammann reveals the struggle it was—from his family’s escape from the Holocaust through their internment in a North African refugee camp to their bitter years as immigrants in the U.S. in the aftermath of WWII. This meticulous account sets the record straight on a reluctant public figure who lost in the court of public opinion, but escaped being tried in a court of law. Photos. (Oct.)

«Legal Isolationism»

U.S. law takes precedence: thanks to this principle and massive financial penalties, the United States has also forced Marc Rich on his knees.

The American oil dealer Marc Rich, living in Zug, got into the crosshairs of the U.S. authorities in the beginning of the eighties. The United States accused him of profiting from untaxed income of 100 million U.S. dollars at his Swiss company, and therefore claimed 48 million U.S. dollars in tax payments.

Rich denied the claim. Then a district court judge in New York asked Marc Rich & Co. AG to submit all business documents concerning the oil deals. There were hundreds of thousands of pages. Rich refused. The judge, therefore, punished him with a fine of 50,000 dollars per day. Read More »