The controversial founder of Swiss commodities giant Glencore, Marc Rich, who was pardoned by President Bill Clinton on his last day in office for tax evasion, has died at the age of 78, his company said yesterday, channelnewsasia.com reports. The international businessman, died of a brain stroke at Lucern in central Switzerland, the March Rich Group said in a statement. Rich was a fugitive from US justice for nearly two decades after his indictment for tax evasion and illegal trading with Iran until Clinton wiped his slate clean in 2001. Citing family sources, Swiss Radio 1 meanwhile reported that Rich, who was Jewish, would be given a funeral in Tel Aviv on Thursday. In 1954, Rich joined US trading firm Philipp Brothers as an apprentice and quickly worked his way up the group. He was soon groomed to take over as president of the US firm, but in 1974, he decided instead to launch a company based in Switzerland’s canton Zug with a former colleague Pincus Green as well as several other traders. Rich, together with his partners, managed to “break through the cartel of major groups that dominated the petrol market, from the wells to the petrol pumps,” Daniel Ammann, his biographer and a Swiss journalist, told AFP a few years ago.