Als Sohn deutschsprachiger Juden floh Marc Rich während des Zweiten Weltkriegs in die USA. Als Rohstoffhändler brach er in den Siebzigerjahren das Kartell der großen Ölkonzerne. Als Herr über das "schwarze Gold" wurde er 17 Jahre lang von amerikanischen Agenten gejagt. Nun nimmt der mysteriöse Milliardär erstmals Stellung. Marc Rich, Gründer von Glencore, handelte mit Khomeinis Iran, Castros Kuba und Südafrikas Apartheid-Regime. Von den USA wurde er wegen "Handels mit dem Feind Iran" und wegen Steuervergehen verfolgt. In der Schweiz, wo er seit seiner Flucht aus den USA lebt, blieb er trotz heftiger medialer Kritik unbehelligt. Für den israelischen Geheimdienst Mossad verrichtete er gar diskrete Dienste. Daniel Ammann hat jahrelang recherchiert und den legendären Rohstoffhändler kritisch befragt. Entstanden ist eine Biografie, die individuelles Schicksal mit der Weltpolitik verknüpft. Eine Geschichte über Macht und Moral, in der vieles nicht so ist, wie es scheint.

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21. November 2016
Rich's is one of the most amizing careers of the twentieth century, a career that is tightly woven with great events in world history: Fidel Castro's revolution in 1959; the decolonization of Africa in the 1960s; the Yom Kippur War and the oil shock of 1974; the fall of the shah of Persia and the seizure of power by the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran in 1979; apartheid South Africa in the 1980s; and the crumbling of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. Marc Rich and his business partners were on the scene when these events happened. Thanks to their know-how, their hard work, and their considerable aggression, they were able to react to these events to their benefit more than their competitors ever could.
21. November 2016
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do", an oil trader once said in response to one of my questions. He had spent a lot of time in Nigeria, one of the most corrupt countries in the world, which just happens to possess immense oil reserves. I wanted to know what he ment. "If you want to get pregnant, you can't stay virgin," he said. Of course, he admitted, he had paid bribes in order to receive contracts. "[Marc Rich's] trading empire was based largely on systematic bribes and kickbacks to corrupt local officials," alleged the House Committee on Government Reform, which carried out an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Rich's pardon. The oil trader in Nigeria does not accept this charge. "We would be neither as successful nor would we still be in business if we had only paid bribes. More importantly, we offered our customers a better service than our competitors." Rich himself does not deny having authorized bribes.
22. November 2016
One aspect of Marc Rich's career that was forgotten during the entire affair was his unique entrepreneurial success. For starters, he is more than just a profiteer and boycott breaker. It was not Rich's alleged tax evasion that made him the twentieth century's most dominant trader. When I asked how he had managed to achieve so much, he answered with the standard trader's joke, "Buy low, sell high." Then he added in more serious tone, "The ingredients are hard work, hard work, and hard work - and good collaborators. Obviously a little bit of luck help also." These are surely important elements of success, but they cannot provide a good explanation for the sheer scale of his remarkable achievements.
28. November 2016
Within only a few years the dynamics of power within the oil industry had been completely turned on their head - forever. Today, in 2009, the corporation that made up the Seven Sister no longer control the global oil trade. There are now ten state oil companies that control three-fourths of global oil reserves. The most important oil-producting companies are politicaly fragile states: Saudi Arabia (Saudi Armaco), Russia (Gazprom), and Iran (NIOC).
6. Dezember 2016
To this day the Iranian connection to the oil pipeline is one of Israel’s best-kept state secrets. The pipeline was an attempt to solve one of the Jewish state’s greatest strategic challenges, one that threatened the national’s very survival: access to a steady supply of oil. There’s an old Israeli joke: Moses wandered the Middle East for forty years - and finally settled in the only place without any oil.

The pipeline was what game theorists would call a «win-win situation» - a solution of equal benefit to both parties. «Thanks to the pipeline, the shah was able to gradually outrival the multinational oil companies and become a powerful force in the oil trade,» a participant in the deal told me. NIOC was able to freely sell its oil on the open market for the first time ever. The shah made a lot of money and could continue to feed his extravagant lifestyle. Furthermore, the pipeline was a useful tool in his struggle to gain greater control over the oil companies. Israel, on the other side, earned good money on the transit fees for the pipeline and was at the same time able to secure a constant supply of oil.
7. Dezember 2016
From the company’s very first day? Marc Rich +Co.’s financial success was nothing less than astounding. In 1974, the company’s first fiscal year, it had a turnover of more than $1 billion while reaping a net profit of $28 million. The company’s profit in 1975 was $50 million, and it went on to earn what was then an unbelievable $200 million in 1976.
7. Dezember 2016
There were three main reasons for Rich’s success - a success that took the industry completely by surprise. First of all, Rich’s company was willing to take on much higher level risk than its competitors. Second, the best people in the business were working for the company. Finally, Marc Rich + Co. was the first company to develop a sophisticated system for trading oil independently. It is no exaggeration to state that Marc Rich and Pincus Green truly did invent the spot market for crude oil.
7. Dezember 2016
The following is a poignant example from the company’s later year that illustrated how Green was able to utilize such price differences. In the 1980s the Soviet Union supported Cube, its «socialist brother nation,» with cheap oil. Instead of transporting this oil over long distances from Russia to Cuba, the state trading company Cuba Metals traded a portion of this oil with March Rich + Co. Rich’s company then delivered the same amount of oil to Cuba, obtained from nearby Venezuela. Rich was able to buy the Russian oil meant for Cuba at its reduced price and sell it for a profit on the global market.
10. Dezember 2016
When I ask him if him doubts American justice system, Rich answers, "I do believe in the rule of law. Unfortunately, like everything created and applied by man, it is not always perfect. Winston Churchill once said, 'You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing — after they have tried everything else.'"
19. Dezember 2016
If you ask traders about their business, you will hear the same expression over and over again, "The concept of trading is giving a service." "Trading is a service business. We bring sellers and buyers together and earn a service charge," as Rich himself describes the trade. It is the realization of the trader principle that the libertarian philosopher Ayn Rand define as follows: "In any proper deal, you act on the trader principle: you give a value and you receive a value."
19. Dezember 2016
So it came to be that Cuban troops sent to Angola by Fidel Castro to support the MPLA were stationed in Cabinda. Cuban Communist forces were now responsible for protecting the production facilities of capitalist Gulf Oil, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from UNITA attacks that were financed by the United States.
12. Januar 2017
The union had discovered that for years Rich's company Charendon had been supplying the US Mint with copper and nickel for production of coins.
"Every tie I reach into my pocket for some change, I have to wonder if there's a little bit of Marc Rich in there," said Rober Wise, the mediasavvy congressman from West Virginia who was in charge of the investigation.
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