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For The Record  

FTR #277 Rags to Riches: The Marc Rich Pardon

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NB: This RealAudio stream contains FTRs 276 and 277 in sequence. Each is a 30-minute broadcast.

1. Even after President Clinton left office, the media have remained obsessed with his alleged wrongdoing. As the Bush administration proceeds with its agenda, much of the journalistic discourse has centered on Clinton’s pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich. Curiously, the Bush administration and the Justice Department have shied away from the controversy. (“U.S. Attorney to Probe Pardon of Rich” by Robert L. Jackson and Richard A. Serrano; Los Angeles Times; 2/15/2001; p. A1.)

2. This is uncharacteristic of the attack dog mentality that has pervaded the Republican Party in the past. One possible hint of the reason for the Republicans’ reticence on the subject was presented by Bill Clinton, who stated (correctly, as it turned out) that Dick Cheney’s chief of staff (Lewis Libby) had been one of Rich’s lawyers. (“Clinton Denies Wrongdoing in Pardon, Cites Israeli Influence on Rich’s Case” by Tom Brune and John Riley [Newsday]; San Jose Mercury News; 2/16/2001; p. 15A.)

3. Another hint lay in the fact that Rich had extensive dealings with Iran and Iraq during the 1980’s, and those dealings were reported to the Mossad by Rich. (“Israel Pressed for Rich’s Pardon” by Jodi Enda and James Kuhnhenn; San Jose Mercury News; 2/15/2001; pp. 1A-10A.) Note that this fact suggests the possibility that Rich may have been involved in the overlapping Iran-Contra and Iraqgate scandals.

4. A substantive hint that Rich may very well have been involved in the Iraqgate scandal was contained in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s report on the scandal-plagued BCCI. (“Avenue of the Americas: The Centre of it All;” Financial Times; 2/6/2001; p. 15.) (“Appendices: Matters for Further Investigation” from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s report on BCCI.)

5. Agriculture Department credits were a major element in the arming of Saddam Hussein. BCCI was deeply involved in the Iran-Contra scandal operations. The Foreign Relations Committee’s report also recommends further investigation of links between the BCCI and the Atlanta Branch of the Banca Nazionale Del Lavoro. (Idem.)

6. The Atlanta Branch of BNL was a main vehicle for effecting the Iraqgate machinations. In addition, the report recommends the investigation of the BCCI’s role in transferring funds from Middle Eastern countries and American financial institutions. (Idem.)

7. Next, the program excerpts FTR-186. The discussion reviews the links between alleged CIA operative James R. Bath, BCCI and Arbusto Energy, George W’s first oil company. (Fortunate Son; J.H. Hatfield; St. Martin’s Press; copyright 2000 [HC].) (The Outlaw Bank; Jonathan Beatty and S.C. Gwynne; copyright 1993; Ramjack [published in the United States by Random House] )

8. The report on BCCI also recommends investigation of possible links between BCCI and Monzer Al Kassar, one of the top arms and drug dealers involved in the Iran-Contra affair. (“Appendices: Matters for Further Investigation” from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s report on BCCI)

9. Next, the broadcast highlights connections between Osama Bin Laden and Al-Kassar. (“The Great Hunt” by Pino Buongiorno; Panorama; 1/25/2001; p. 83.) Bin Laden attempted to buy $400 million worth of weapons from Al-Kassar.

10. The rest of the program excerpts FTR-228. The excerpt highlights a meeting in Jerusalem in July of 1986 at which George Bush and Army intelligence agents McKee and Gannon were present. (This meeting had been a major point of interest for Iran-Contra Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh. (Iran-Contra: The Final Report; published by Times Books.)

11. Both McKee and Gannon were killed in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103. (Gideon’s Spies; Gordon Thomas; Thomas Dunne; copyright 1999.) (The name of arms and drug dealer Monzer Al-Kassar has come up in connection with the bombing of Pan Am 103. The Pan Am insurance investigator’s report claimed that Al-Kassar was the author of the bombing and that the attack was allowed to go forward in order to silence McKee and Gannon. Al-Kassar was pivotally involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. If the BCCI affair were fully investigated, it seems probable that the resulting scandal would bring down the Bush administration in that Bush, his father, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell are implicated in one aspect or another of the Iran-Contra affair, the Iraqgate scandal, or the machinations of Osama Bin Laden.

Discussion

5 comments for “FTR #277 Rags to Riches: The Marc Rich Pardon”

  1. Have fun in London with your new Austrian citizenship Denise. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out:

    Socialite Denise Rich dumps U.S. passport

    By Lynnley Browning

    Mon Jul 9, 2012 9:47am EDT

    (Reuters) – Denise Rich, the wealthy socialite and former wife of pardoned billionaire trader Marc Rich, has given up her U.S. citizenship – and, with it, much of her U.S. tax bill.

    Rich, 68, a Grammy-nominated songwriter and glossy figure in Democratic and European royalty circles, renounced her American passport in November, according to her lawyer.

    Her maiden name, Denise Eisenberg, appeared in the Federal Register on April 30 in a quarterly list of Americans who renounced their U.S. citizenship and permanent residents who handed in their green cards. (link.reuters.com/naq28s)

    By dumping her U.S. passport, Rich likely will save tens of millions of dollars or more in U.S. taxes over the long haul, tax lawyers say.

    Rich, who wrote songs recorded by Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige and Jessica Simpson, is the latest bold-faced name to join a wave of wealthy people renouncing their American citizenship. Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin gave up his U.S. passport to become a citizen of Singapore, an offshore tax haven, before the company’s initial public offering in May.

    Nearly 1,800 citizens and permanent residents, a record since data was first compiled in 1998, expatriated last year, according to government figures.

    Rich, who was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, has Austrian citizenship through her deceased father, said Michael Heidt, a lawyer in Hollywood, Florida, who represented her in a recent lawsuit.

    He said Rich had dumped her U.S. passport “so that she can be closer to her family and to Peter Cervinka, her long-time partner.” Rich’s two daughters live in London; Cervinka, a wealthy property developer, is an Austrian national. Rich plans to make London her main residence and does not intend to acquire other passports, Heidt said.

    MARC RICH’s PARDON

    Rich’s ex-husband, commodities trader Marc Rich, fled the United States in 1983 when indicted on charges of tax evasion, fraud, racketeering and illegal trading of oil with Iran. They divorced in 1996.

    While Austria, like the United States, generally taxes its citizens on their worldwide income, it has generous tax breaks for citizens who spend half the year abroad.

    In January, Rich put her 5th Avenue penthouse in New York on the market for $65 million, according to the listing agent, The Corcoran Group. New York property records show Rich acquired a 100 percent stake in the apartment, described by Corcoran as “the epitome of luxury and grandeur,” for $200,000 in 2006. Bonnie Evans, the Corcoran broker for the property, declined to discuss details.

    COOK ISLANDS TRUST

    The recent lawsuit against Rich was filed on behalf of Lee Goldberg, the former protector of a Cook Islands trust of which Rich is a beneficiary, in February. The case was dismissed in April, court records show.

    The Cook Islands, a South Pacific tax haven, offers Swiss-style secrecy for wealthy investors.

    The lawsuit accused Rich and Richard Kilstock, a British real estate entrepreneur who is married to Rich’s daughter Daniella, of “transferring, moving or secreting trust assets, in violation of the trust’s guidelines and without the knowledge or permission of Goldberg.”

    Rich and Kilstock denied the charges and accused Goldberg of altering trust documents, court filings show.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 9, 2012, 1:24 pm
  2. “The appeal of barter deals is that because payments are made in goods rather than money, transactions are kept off the international financial grid and are less likely to be identified by governments trying to curb Iran’s nuclear program.” Tip of the iceberg?

    Exclusive: Glencore bartered with firm linked to Iran nuclear program

    By Louis Charbonneau

    UNITED NATIONS | Fri Mar 1, 2013 1:15am EST

    (Reuters) – Commodities giant Glencore supplied thousands of tons of alumina to an Iranian firm that has provided aluminum to Iran’s nuclear program, intelligence and diplomatic sources told Reuters.

    The previously undisclosed barter arrangement between Glencore, the world’s biggest commodities trader, and the Iranian Aluminum Company (Iralco) illustrates how difficult it is for Western powers to curb Iran’s ability to trade with the rest of the world. Even as the West imposes stringent restrictions on banks that do business with Iran, United Nations diplomats say that Tehran keeps finding new ways to do business with willing partners.

    Reuters first learned about Glencore’s barter deal with Iralco, and an aluminum supply contract that Iralco had with Iran Centrifuge Technology Co (TESA), from a Western diplomatic source in early November. That was about six weeks before the European Union’s December 2012 decision to levy sanctions on Iralco for supplying aluminum metal to TESA, which is a subsidiary of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).

    The source showed Reuters a Western intelligence report concerning Glencore’s arrangement with Iralco. It described how Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore provided Iralco with thousands of tons of alumina last year in exchange for a lesser amount of aluminum metal. The report’s authenticity was confirmed by U.N. diplomats.

    It is not known whether any of the aluminum produced by Iralco from Glencore’s alumina raw material actually ended up with TESA. As part of AEOI, TESA has been subject to U.N. sanctions in place since 2006.

    In a statement to Reuters, Glencore said it first learned about the TESA-Iralco relationship in December and immediately “ceased transactions” with Iralco. It said its last actual trade as part of the barter arrangement was in October 2012, two months before the EU move.

    Glencore acknowledged that it did sign the barter deal with Iralco in August 2011, saying it was perfectly legal and denied any wrongdoing by the firm or attempts to help Iran bypass sanctions. It declined to provide details about the barter deal, the value of which is unclear.

    Iralco did not respond to an emailed request for a comment. Iran’s U.N. mission said it was not in a position to comment.

    Iran denies allegations by Western powers and their allies that it is seeking atomic weapons and has refused to stop enriching uranium. As a result, in addition to four rounds of U.N. sanctions, Iran has faced much tougher U.S. and EU measures, specifically targeting its financial and energy sectors.

    ALUMINUM TUBES

    Aluminum can be used to make aluminum tubes for uranium enrichment gas centrifuges, though most newer gas centrifuges are made of a carbon composite material. Aluminum is also used in everything from cars to aircraft, buildings and cans.

    Glencore had supplied Iralco with about five tons of alumina for every ton of aluminum that Glencore received in return, according to the intelligence report. Given that on average it takes only about two tons of alumina to produce one ton of aluminum, the barter deal may have left Iralco with more aluminum after processing the alumina than it supplied to Glencore.

    Iralco covered costs inside Iran, while all activity involving foreign currency payments was covered by Glencore, including shipping costs and insurance, according to the intelligence report.

    In its statement, Glencore said: “Glencore complies with applicable laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions. We closely monitor all new legal developments to ensure that we continue to be in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions.”

    The company said that alumina and aluminum metal were not prohibited commodities under the sanctions, and that bartering is one of the oldest and most transparent forms of transaction and an accepted method in the metals business.

    Swiss authorities said they saw no evidence of U.N. or Swiss sanctions violations by Glencore. Iralco is not under U.S. or U.N. sanctions.

    The intelligence report described the Glencore deal as a good way for Tehran to get around global financial restrictions, though it did not say that Glencore violated sanctions.

    OFF THE GRID

    A U.N. expert panel has repeatedly reported to the U.N. Security Council that Iran has learned to dodge sanctions with the aid of shell companies and intermediaries and a small group of friendly countries. But it has become extremely difficult for any Iranian firm to make or receive payments abroad due to sanctions on Iranian banks – including the central bank – and the barring of Iran from the international banking clearinghouse SWIFT.

    The appeal of barter deals is that because payments are made in goods rather than money, transactions are kept off the international financial grid and are less likely to be identified by governments trying to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

    “From Iran’s point of view, the business offered through the exchange agreement (with Glencore) offers a model that can be replicated for trade in a range of commodities that it requires, by reaching similar deals with other foreign companies that have commercial interests but are reluctant to deal with Iran in the current circumstances,” the intelligence report said. “Each side benefits from the trade agreement, while risks of exposure through inevitable contact with third parties are dramatically reduced.”

    The EU said it imposed sanctions on Iralco in December because the company was allegedly “assisting designated entities to violate the provisions of U.N. and EU sanctions on Iran and is directly supporting Iran’s proliferation sensitive nuclear activities.” The EU said that Iralco had a contract to supply aluminum to Iran’s centrifuge firm TESA from the middle of 2012, according to the official EU bulletin on the sanctions.

    A source close to Glencore said that Iralco received its last alumina shipment from Glencore in September while Glencore received its last delivery of aluminum from Iralco in October.

    The source declined to comment when asked if the firm continued to do other business with Iran. Glencore announced an end to its fuel sales to Iran in January 2010 to avoid breaching U.S. sanctions.

    Glencore has been involved in controversies before. It was founded as ‘Marc Rich & Co’ in 1974 by Marc Rich, who was charged by the U.S. authorities in the early 1980s with evading taxes and selling oil to Iran during the 1979-81 hostage crisis. He fled to Switzerland where he lived as a fugitive for 17 years before being pardoned by then U.S. President Bill Clinton just before he left office in 2001. After a bet on the zinc market failed, the firm struggled badly and Rich eventually sold it through a management buyout in 1994.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 28, 2013, 10:36 pm
  3. Hmmm…perhaps letting hyper-secretive power-obsessed workaholics define the social-contract will probably result in a world that works for no one. Except for maybe the power-obsessed workaholics:

    Hullabaloo
    If you can’t work 70 hours a week, “you’re not competent to do the work”
    5/14/2013 03:30:00 PM
    by David Atkins

    If anyone needed proof that corporate leaders shouldn’t be making public policy, this should seal the deal:

    For many, work-life balance is seen as the ultimate goal. For others, that mindset is hogwash that’s holding you back in your career.

    Taking time off for family or passions “can offer a nice life,” legendary GE CEO Jack Welch once told The Wall Street Journal. But he said that it lessens the chances for promotion or to reach the top of a career path.

    Welch is not the only one who believes this.

    Recently, Glencore Xstrata PC CEO Ivan Glasenberg argued that executives who start to focus on family and hobbies will find themselves undercut and replaced by ones who don’t.

    It’s easy to dismiss these attitudes as outdated, macho, and unreasonable. But it’s possible that people seeking work-life balance are just avoiding finding a way to work extremely hard and be very happy about it.

    Marty Nemko, a career coach, author, columnist, and radio host, argues that the most successful and contented people prefer a heavily work-centric life over work-life balance.

    “The real winners of the world, the people that are the most productive, think that this notion of work-life balance is grossly overrated,” Nemko told Business Insider. “Most of the highly successful and not-burned out people I know work single-mindendly towards a goal they think is important, whether it’s developing a new piece of software, inventing something, or a cardiologist who’s seeing patients on nights and weekends instead of playing Monopoly with his kids on the weekend…”

    He argues that many people who champion work-life balance aren’t overworked, but are using the term as a politically correct tool, a smokescreen for the desire to not do work.

    So rather than focusing on work-life balance, focus on being in the moment, on giving everything at work instead of imagining relaxing at home on the weekend. If you can’t bring yourself to work 70 hours occasionally or it feels like torture, then you’re probably at the wrong job.

    Even startup founders, known for working incredible hours under a lot of stress, shouldn’t blame burnout on a lack of work-life balance.

    “Don’t blame the hours,” Nemko says. “If somebody says they got burned out working 70 hours a week it’s because they weren’t competent enough to do the work, they hired the wrong people, or the product they were working on wasn’t good enough, and they were trying to make it work when they really shouldn’t have.”

    Earth to our overlords: You appear to have jumped ahead in your dystopian scripts. We aren’t the mindless robots you so desperately want us to be quite yet. Give us a little more time. We’re working on it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 15, 2013, 7:51 am
  4. In the end, the grim reaper always gets the last extradition:

    Financier Marc Rich dies in Switzerland
    John Heilprin, AP Business Writer 11:18 a.m. EDT June 26, 2013

    GENEVA (AP) — Marc Rich, the trader known as the “King of Commodities” whose controversial 2001 pardon by President Bill Clinton just hours before he left office unleashed a political firestorm of criticism in 2001, died on Wednesday. He was 78.

    Rich died of a stroke in a hospital in Lucerne, Switzerland, near to his longtime home, according to the Marc Rich Group. His Israel-based spokesman, Avner Azulay, said Rich would be buried in Israel on Thursday.

    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 the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis and evading more than $48 million in income taxes — crimes that could have earned him more than 300 years in prison.

    Rich remained on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, narrowly escaping capture in Finland, Germany, Britain and Jamaica, until Clinton granted him a pardon on Jan. 20, 2001 — the day he handed over the keys to the White House to George W. Bush.

    Rich’s pardon catapulted him into the headlines once again.

    According to Federal Election Commission records, Rich’s ex-wife, songwriter Denise Rich, gave $201,000 in political donations to the Democratic Party in 2000 as lawyers for the fugitive financier pressed the U.S. government to drop the case. Rich’s attorneys turned to Clinton when the Justice Department refused to negotiate.

    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 Hillary Clinton in exchange for the pardon. Bill Clinton also denied any wrongdoing and said he acted on advice by prominent legal experts not connected to the trader.

    Eric Holder, the current U.S. attorney general, was deputy attorney general to Clinton, and recommended Rich’s pardon.

    Only weeks later, however, he told the House Government Reform Committee: “Knowing everything that I know now, I would not have recommended to the president that he grant the pardon.”

    Despite strong diplomatic pressure Switzerland had refused to treat Rich — a billionaire trader in oil, metals and other commodities — as a criminal or hand him over to the United States, because it had different tax laws and no embargo against Iran

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 28, 2013, 10:14 am
  5. Check out Glencore Xstrata’s new chairman: Tony “I just want my life back” Hayward:

    Tony Hayward is still failing to clean up his act

    By Jack Gilbert
    Posted on April 14, 2014 by The London Economic

    In April 2010 millions of gallons of oil seeped into the Gulf of Mexico, killing off nearly everything in its path. Birds encased in oil desperately wrestled to escape their imminent death. Dolphins were washed ashore panicking and struggling to breathe. Local children in Louisiana and Florida complained of unexplained symptoms such as bleeding ears and nose bleeds. The then Chief Executive of BP, Tony Hayward said, “I just want my life back.”

    For the thousands of people whose livelihoods were destroyed by the Deepwater Horizon Spill of 2010, and for the families of the 11 workers who died, this comment was seen as a little selfish.

    Tony Hayward was forced to resign from BP following the spill, but it appears now that he has finally “got his life back,” as it is expected that he will take over as the chairman of global commodities and mining giant Glencore Xstrata – who has a revenue of $232.694 billion.

    Rather than seeking a life of atonement for the damage his company has done, Hayward is set to lead Glencore – labelled as the “biggest company you have never heard of” and reportedly associated with child labour, dealing with rogue states and paying paramilitaries to kill off locals.

    But despite the allegations into Glencore’s human rights record and Hayward’s own controversial past, we shouldn’t forget that this man prides himself on corporate responsibility, and deeply cares for protecting the world and the people who work for him. In 2007 Hayward said that, “leaders must make the safety of all who work for them their top priority. My enduring priorities are, firstly, continued improvement in the safety of our operations all around the world.”

    However this seems at odds with accusations that Glencore has been profiting from child labour in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. During an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama in April 2013, it was shown through hidden footage that children as young as 10 were working on the Tilwezembe mine and climbing down hand built 150ft shafts without safety equipment. Glencore’s chief executive, Ivan Glasenberg denied that his company were buying copper from this mine, but according to documents obtained by Panorama, copper from the Tilwezembe mine was being sent to smelter at Glencore’s plant in Zambia. Filmmakers were also told that 60 miners had died at the Tilwezembe mine in 2012.

    Hayward’s never faltering ethical code does not simply extend to ensuring that all his employees are kept safe however. No he is also determined to protect the environment. In a motivational speech at Stanford University in 2009, he said: “Our primary purpose in life is to create value for our shareholders. In order to do that you have to take care of the world.”

    But thus far it appears that Glencore’s record of taking care of the world has not been especially good. In Zambia in 2011 officials claimed that Glencore’s Mopani mines were causing acid rainfall that was resulting in health problems for some of the 5 million people who lived in the area. In Colombia, Glencore’s coal operation was fined $700,000 in 2009 for producing coal without an environmental management plan and waste disposal without a permit. It has also been reported that Glencore have been dumping acid waste into the Luilu river in Congo, killing off fish and ecosystems.

    For Hayward his all-encompassing vision of leadership is built upon forming close bonds with the people involved in his companies. He told Stanford students in 2009: “If you want people to follow you, you need to connect with their hearts as well as their heads.”

    But for certain people who have stood in the way of Glencore’s thirst for profits, this positive leadership model has not always been applied. In 2002, ten Colombians living on land called El Prado, next to Glencore’s Calenturitas coal mining concession were murdered by paramilitaries. A court in Colombia confirmed that the paramilitaries had stolen the land so they could sell it to Prodeco, an offshoot of Glencore, to start an open-cast coal mine. Allegations that Glencore paid these paramilitaries were ardently denied by CEO Glasenberg, but the Panorama investigation showed sale contracts between Prodeco and the new owners of the land – who the authorities claimed were henchmen of the paramilitaries. Perhaps when Hayward takes over Glencore, he will instil his passion to win over the ‘hearts’ of locals, and move away from the dark history of the company?

    But do not fear. If Glencore is responsible for an environmental catastrophe, Hayward will be on hand to deliver another heartfelt TV apology showing his true remorse for the damages his corporation has cost the earth.

    So does this count as “failing upward”? Or is it more of a sideways move? Either way, get ready for more crocodile tears, both corporate and the real kind. Plus loon tears. LOTS of loon tears.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 8, 2014, 8:41 pm

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