Published in the United States last month, the biography of the legendary trader Marc Rich (Daniel Ammann, The King of Oil, published by St. Martin’s Press) could be read as a Who’s Who in African oil. Names such as Jacques Hachuel and Alexander Hackel crop up as well as that of a mysterious “Monsieur Ndolo.” This was the pseudonym of a French trader who headed the Compagnie Burundaise de Commerce (Cobuco) that was owned in equal halves by the Burundi government and Marc Rich + Co. In the 1980s, Cobuco bought Iranian crude. Officially to meet Burundi’s needs, the oil was in fact sold on to international markets. As for Marc Rich +Co, it made billions by supplying oil to South Africa during the apartheid era in defiance of sanctions. Rich also set up the trading department of Sonangol in Angola.
Copyright 2009 Indigo Publications