Marc Rich, the trader known as the "King of Commodities" whose controversial 2001 pardon by President
The billionaire trader in oil, metals and other commodities died of a stroke in a hospital in Lucerne, Switzerland, according to the Marc Rich Group.
Rich fled from the United States to Switzerland in 1983 after he was indicted by a U.S. federal grand jury on more than 50 counts of fraud, racketeering, trading with Iran during
He remained on the
Federal authorities investigated but found no evidence of wrongdoing, while election officials also dismissed a complaint accusing Denise Rich of donating campaign money and furniture to
Rich was born in Antwerp, Belgium, on Dec. 18, 1934. His Jewish family fled from the
After dropping out of
In 1973, Rich and Green left the company and set up Marc Rich and Co., based in the Swiss town of Zug, whose low taxes have made it one of the world's oil trading centers. Rich specialized in acting as a middleman for purchases in global trouble spots — such as Iran, apartheid-era South Africa, Cuba and Libya during U.S. trade embargoes.
Rich and Green were the first traders to use short-term purchases, now known as the spot market, to quickly make big money. Buying large volumes when the price was low, they were able to control the market when prices rose.
After Rich fled to Switzerland in 1983, his companies pleaded guilty to the charges filed against him, paying fines of about $130 million.
"It's an unfortunate situation," Rich said. "But the question is, was there crime? And I'm saying I don't think so."
Swiss authorities did not consider the charges grounds for extradition.
Rich worked on making himself popular by becoming a major philanthropist, giving money to the arts and charities in the hope of building good contacts and guarding against extradition. He renounced his U.S. citizenship and became a citizen of Israel and Spain.
Rich had married the former Denise Eisenberg, a New York socialite, in 1966. They divorced in 1992. After that she contributed $450,000 to Clinton's presidential library foundation and more than $100,000 to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign.
In 1993, Rich sold his own company —renamed