The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich by Daniel Ammann

Quite an interesting story about the rise and a near fall of Marc Rich, the financier commodity trader and founder of Glencore-Xtrata who lived and died in exile, fugutive from “justice” in the United States.

Mr. Ammann makes a very brazen comparison between Rich and Ayn Rand's very own Hank Rearden, a prominent industrialist in the perennial Atlas Shrugged who obstructed prohibitive and burdensome government regulation and then went in exile. Well, Rich might have been no less defiant in his actions, but definitely much more cautious in trying to make sure he's not breaking the law. And which law apllies internationally. Well, Rudy Giuliani thought differently, and made a career out of it.

The more details I read about this case, the less I like it. Rich has been clearly singled out, mistreated by the NY state prosecutors, who abused their powers in forcing him to plea guilty over a supposed tax evasion – which I'm 100 per cent certain had 155 various tax opinions by the most reputable accounting and law firms that Marc Rich + Co. ain't breaking the law. I see quite some relsemblaces between this case and the unfair treatment of our very own Mr. Khodorkovsky, who as well was singled out, mistreated, tried and jailed by the state on the back of tax evasion charges. Different reasons, but in quite similar fashion, it looks like. Saddens me.

In general, it's a good tale of putting together one of the largest and quite successful trading operations in modern history, a child who now tries to purge its founding father's name from history books. Oh well.

If he was indeed innocent, as he claims, I interject, why was he branded the greatest tax fraudster and an enemy of the state? Rich tilts his head to one side, and the red birthmark on his left cheek seems to glow brighter than usual. “I believe it was a combination of political problems and that a scapegoat was needed at the time,” Rich says. “I was an easy target, one individual, very successful, making a lot of money, and Jewish. I stood outside of the establishment.”

“I was singled out by individuals. Individuals with a clear personal interest in self-promotion,” Rich believes. “Mr. Giuliani escalated the case because he saw a chance to achieve more publicity for himself,” he maintains. “Personal interests and feelings on their side got into the way of a fair solution.”

 

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