Frequently Asked Questions in the context of Marc Rich and his companies
Q 1: Was Marc Rich convicted and sentenced to 325 years in jail by the US courts?
A: Marc Rich was never convicted or even tried for any criminal offence. The figure of 325 years corresponds to the maximal penalties theoretically possible under the 1983 indictment, but Marc Rich was never tried on the charges.
Q 2: Why was Marc Rich pardoned by President Bill Clinton?
Q 2.1: What was the main reason for the pardon?
A: President Bill Clinton said he felt the indictment of Marc Rich was unjust and any dispute should be civil, not criminal. [New York Times, February 18, 2001]
Q 2.2: Why was the pardon granted on President Bill Clinton's last day in office?
A: U.S. Presidents grant pardons during their terms including at the end of their term. Under the U.S. Constitution, they have complete discretion as to whom and when to grant pardons. Marc Rich received one of the more than 140 pardons, which President Clinton granted on his last days in office in January 2001.
Q 2.3: Did Marc Rich "buy" his pardon?
A: Marc Rich and his ex-wife Denise Rich did not make contributions to the President or to any third parties in order to obtain the pardon.
Marc Rich's charitable contributions, which total well over USD 135 millions, commenced decades ago, even before his indictment. They did not procure the pardon, and were never intended to do so.
Q 3: What else is to be said about the "old" U.S. case (the indictment of 1983)?
Q 3.1: Is it true that Marc Rich was treated unfairly?
A: Marc Rich and his companies were unfairly singled out. All other companies who were subject to inquiries about basically the same facts were involved in civil cases only, not in criminal cases.
Q 3.2: What about the alleged tax violations?
A: All transactions of the Marc Rich companies were properly reported. Two of the most respected U.S. tax professors Bernard Wolfman of Harvard Law School and Martin Ginsburg of Georgetown University Law Center have concluded that no crime was committed, and that the companies' tax reporting position was reasonable.
Q 3.3: What about the trading with Iran during the "hostage crisis" in 1979?
A: As a Swiss based company Marc Rich + Co AG was not subject to the U.S. regulations. Even subsidiaries of U.S. companies abroad were allowed to trade with Iran. The charges against Marc Rich + Co AG were later on dropped. It is not understandable why they were not dropped against Marc Rich as well.
Q 3.4: Why did the Marc Rich companies then settle with the U.S. authorities at great cost?
A: The Marc Rich companies settled the case because of the economic pressures connected with it. It was cheaper to settle than to continue the fight, which had received enormous publicity.
Q 4: Does Glencore belong to Marc Rich?
A: Marc Rich sold his stake to the management in 1993/1994. Since then he does not maintain any business relations with Glencore, neither do the Marc Rich Group companies.
Q 5: Does Marc Rich hold any stakes in Xstrata?
A: Marc Rich and his companies do not have any participation in Xstrata since 1994 when Marc Rich sold his stake in Marc Rich + Co AG (later renamed Glencore).
*The company Xstrata was founded in 1927 under the name of Südelektra. In 1990, Marc Rich + Co AG became its majority shareholder. When Marc Rich sold his stake in Marc Rich + Co AG to its management in 1994 the stake in Südelektra became part of Glencore International AG.
Since 1994 Marc Rich and his companies do not maintain any business or shareholding relations with Xstrata.
Q 6: Did Marc Rich and his companies have anything to do with the tanker "Prestige" that sank along the Spanish coast in 2002?
A: Neither Marc Rich nor any of his companies ever owned or chartered the tanker "Prestige", nor did they own the freight on board.
Q 7: Does Trafigura belong to Marc Rich?
A: Trafigura does not belong to Marc Rich and never did. The original founders and some of the current owners of Trafigura once worked for the Marc Rich Group. However, Trafigura was formed without help or finance from the Marc Rich Group, and there is no business relationship between the two companies.
Q 8: Was Marc Rich involved in the U.N. Oil-for-Food Programme?
A: The Office of the Attorney General of the Swiss Confederation conducted an investigation concerning the involvement of the Marc Rich Group in the Oil-for-Food programme and came to the conclusion that no illegal behaviour took place. The investigation has been concluded. The costs of the investigation were charged to the Swiss Confederation.