Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Did the Dead American Billionaire Know Who Killed the Swedish Prime Minister?

Hans and Eva Rausing. Getty Images.

Eva Rausing, a heir to a multi-billion dollar fortune, contacted Swedish investigative journalist and author Gunnar Wall claiming that she had information about the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme shortly before her mysterious death this summer.

Eva Rausing, an American citizen, wrote in emails that she had sent to Wall that her husband knew businessmen who were connected to Mr. Palme’s assassination  in 1986, weeks before she died from a drug overdose. Her husband Hans Rausing, the son of the owner of the Sweden-based packaging firmTetra Pak, then left her body to decompose in the London manor they shared for months until police made the gruesome discovery when they arrested Rausing for drug possession.

According to a report in the Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen, Scotland Yard has also given Swedish investigators data found on Eva Rausing’s laptop related to Mr. Palme’s death. The newspaper cited Ms. Rausing’s mother, Nancy Kemeny, who reportedly said that her daughter had information about the murder weapon as well as who was responsible for the murder.

Swedish police have confirmed that they have received the data from Ms. Rausing’s computer, but would not comment about how the information might help them solve the case. The police also confirmed that they had declined Eva Rausing’s offer to help them with the case when she had contacted them in 2010, claiming to have information about Mr. Palme’s murder.

Hans Rausing called Wall last week claiming that neither he nor his late wife Eva Rausing knew anything about the murder of the Swedish prime minister.

“[Eva] had written to me in an email that [her husband] had known about the murder for a long time and that he would never tell anybody else about it,” Wall told Crime Library. “So, I wasn’t surprised that [Hans Rausing] would say that, but on the other hand, I don’t know if Eva Rausing was right or not when she said that he knew.”

Eva Rausing also hinted at the possibility that her life might be in danger because of what she knew. “She had written to me that she was afraid of the man who she had pointed out and was afraid that he would do something to her,” Wall told Crime Library. “She had written that ‘if something happens to me, I want you to investigate this’ and then she added ‘I’m only joking.’”

Despite Ms. Rausing’s allegations, Wall told Crime Library that he highly doubted that Evan Rausing’s husband was responsible for her death. “I think they loved each other…all the information I got in her email was about how they were important to each other,” Wall told Crime Library.

Hans Rausing was given a 10-month suspended sentence for a “decent and lawful burial” after investigators were unable to determine whether he might have been responsible for his wife’s death. Alexander Cameron, the brother of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, served as his defense attorney.

While conceding that it was difficult to explain why Hans Rausing, who shared is wife’s drug addition problems, continued to live with his wife’s corpse long after she was dead, he said that it is difficult to determine why he had failed to report her death.

“I do not know what Scotland Yard found out” Wall told Crime Library.  “He could have found her dead and went into a state of shock because he could not part from her.”

Wall is an acclaimed author of two books on Mr. Palme’s assassination: “Mörkläggning – statsmakten och Palmemordet” (Blackout – the Government and the Palme Murder) and “Mordgåtan Olof Palme” (Olof Palme – a Murder Mystery). He says that he does not yet have an opinion about who Mr. Palme’s murderer might be, but has criticized the Swedish authorities’ handling of the case.

Mr. Palme was a controversial figure when he served a prime minister in Sweden during the early 1980s and was an outspoken critic of the United, States, the former Soviet Union, and South African apartheid. Mr. Palme was shot in the back by an unidentified assailant while walking home from a movie theater with this wife at around midnight. There are many theories about who was behind the attacks, including the KGB, the South African government, the CIA or the Chilean government.

Eva Rausing’s death was a tragic conclusion to her long history of addiction troubles that she shared with her husband. In 2008, the U.S.-born heiress was arrested with her husband for attempting to smuggle drugs into the U.S. Embassy in London. A search of their Chelsea house after the embassy bust revealed their personal stash of cocaine and heroin. The couple avoided a jail sentence by agreeing to enter a drug treatment program.

During the weeks and months leading up to Rausing’s death, friends and relatives were unable to establish contact with either Eva or Hans Rausing. Her sister reportedly visited the house in June, but was unable to find Rausing at home. Eva and Hans Rausing also looked disheveled in photos that London’s paparazzi press published earlier this year during the rare occasions when the couple left the house.

Despite Rausing’s personal problems, she continued to make generous donations to charitable foundations. In 2006, she wrote a $391,000 check to the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation. She also reportedly donated millions of dollars to drug rehabilitation clinics in the UK and in Barbados, although neither she nor her husband likely ever received treatment at the facilities that she helped to fund.

See Also:

Billionaire Charged with Obstructing Wife’s Burial

Billionaire May Have Lived with Wife’s Rotting Corpse for Weeks in London Mansion

Heiress Found Dead, Husband Arrested



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