Marc Rich, who has died aged 79, was the godfather of global commodity trading — and for many years a fugitive from US justice, until he was granted a pardon in the controversial last act of Bill Clinton’s presidency.Read the rest here.
In the early 1970s Rich pioneered large-scale speculative buying and selling in the spot market for crude oil — “spot” meaning for immediate, rather than future, delivery. Contacts with the royal family of Iran enabled him to acquire huge quantities of Iranian oil in anticipation of the Opec embargo in 1973, which precipitated a tripling of the barrel price.
The potential winnings were enormous, but Rich’s then employer, the relatively conservative New York trading firm of Philipp Bros, could not stomach such exposures and was not prepared to pay him what he felt he deserved. So the following year he and two colleagues left to set up on their own in the minimally-taxed Swiss township of Zug. Within two years they were said to have made more than $300 million in profit.