The Pardon of Marc Rich: How Hillary Clinton Served as the “Secret Weapon” for One of the Biggest Tax Cheats in American History

Photo by Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution | CC BY 2.0


President-in-waiting Hillary Clinton has never addressed her role in the midnight pardon of billionaire fugitive Marc Rich. In fact, she’s rarely been asked her opinion on the free pass given to one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, a man who violated embargoes against Iran and South Africa and fled the country rather than face trial in what was billed as “the biggest tax evasion case in history.” Hillary has variously said that she was “unaware” of the decision and “surprised” by it. When pressed, she merely cackles.

Even though 300 pages of core documents relating to the pardon decision remain under seal at the Clinton Library, a review of the available record tells a much different story.  In fact, the Rich legal team viewed Hillary as a “secret weapon,” and as one door after another closed on their search for a pardon they focused more and more on invoking what Rich lawyer Robert Fink called the “HRC option.”

Who is Marc Rich? And why did he need a presidential pardon?

Born in Belgium to Jewish parents, Marc Rich moved with his family to the United States to escape Hitler. Young Marc soon went to work for a commodity firm in New York called Phillip Bros, later acquired by Salomon Brothers. He soon made his mark as an oil trader and, along with his friend Pincus “Pinky” Green, he is credited with inventing spot market trading in oil, ferrous metals and sugar. Billions flowed into…

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