Monday, July 11, 2005

The "Rich" Boys...

Below is an article I posted on the make up of the new GOP. Along the same lines of perceptions...or should I say misperceptions... comes the eternal "GOP-to-big oil evil dudes" link constantly parroted by liberals everywhere.

One small flaw... it appears that just like the GOP is the party of the wealthy, even the link to the hated big oil powers is a myth. Fact is, not only does big oil power and money transcend party lines, but the guru of sleazy oil deals with rogue nations is none other than Clinton pal, Marc Rich.

Rich came to prominence in the 1970s, when he worked at Phillips Bros. (later Phibro), then the biggest trader. With veteran partner Pincus "Pinky" Green, he pioneered "combat trading" -- getting trading rights from countries in turmoil. Rich, called El Matador for his killer instinct, did the deals. Pinky, "The Admiral," arranged shipping.

Traders soon learned the art of the Rich deal: Do whatever it takes. After Rich and Green left Phibro in 1973 to form their own company, they bought a house in the South of France and "stocked it with hookers from Paris and flew in oil guys who spent a week at their expense," says a former U.S. oil executive who knows Rich. "They got the oil contracts they wanted." A former Rich partner corroborates this. Green, who retired in 1992 after heart surgery, could not be reached for comment.

Rich is notorious for trading with Iran during the hostage crisis, South Africa during apartheid, and Cuba and Libya during U.S. trade embargoes. In 1983 he fled to Switzerland after being indicted by the Justice Dept. for racketeering, trading with the enemy (Iran), dodging a $48 million corporate tax bill, and other violations that could have resulted in 300 years of jail time. Rich's companies pleaded guilty to some charges and paid about $200 million in fines, penalties, and taxes, but the case remained open until the pardon. "Rich's philosophy is that no law applies to him," says Morris "Sandy" Weinberg Jr., the former U.S. prosecutor who pursued and indicted Rich in 1983.

Over the years, Rich has mentored scores of traders. Although the 70-year-old is past his peak in the business, according to industry experts, his protégés are thriving. "You could call it the University of Marc Rich," says a Senate investigator. As Alaskan and North Sea oil production declines, new supplies increasingly come from some of the most corrupt or politically unstable places on earth, such as Equatorial Guinea and Sudan. These are the new frontiers where major U.S. oil companies fear to tread because of sanctions, embargoes, and antibribery and anti-terrorism laws. But it's where these traders, many like characters out of the James Bond flick Goldfinger, make good money, especially when oil tops $60 a barrel.

A MUST read... at link above.

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