Eva Rausing’s Death and the Unsolved Mystery of Olof Palme’s Assassination
I once wrote about how the 1986 assassination of Olof Palme had shaped Swedish crime fiction. I later wrote a post on Nordic Noir in a 1970s film in which I briefly mentioned the immensely successful Swedish company, Tetrapak, and the unfortunate death this year of an heiress to the family fortune. Quite surprisingly, the two events are now linked. Sweden’s major newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported on it in a lengthy article (“Eva Rausings mejl om Palmemordet“).
If you’re thinking, “What? Who?” let me give you a totally hypothetical analogy: What if, one day, Donald Trump’s daughter were found dead of an apparent overdose (but with some suspicious circumstances) and then it came out that she had been corresponding with a respected author on the subject of JFK’s assassination, saying she knew the “businessman” responsible for it? –Again, this never happened, but I’m trying to suggest how Swedes might be feeling about the Eva Rausing story right now.
I will translate and/or paraphrase parts of the Dagens Nyheter article here:
The heiress, Eva Rausing, had apparently contacted the “Swedish author and expert on the Palme murder, Gunnar Wall” last year (2011) and told him she knew who the killer was. She wrote, “My name is Eva Rausing and I am married to Hans K. Rausing and I have recently discovered from my husband, with whom I’ve been married for 20 years, that XX was behind the murder of Olof Palme. My husband discovered this by chance many years ago and it affected him very, very badly. I believe that I know where the murder weapon is.” She maintained Palme was murdered by a businessman for reasons relating to private gain, and that the businessman “believed that Palme was a threat to his company and didn’t want to lose it.” She also said she was afraid of the man: “He is not a good person but I would never say something like this if it weren’t true.” That said, she also told Wall that others were involved, and that she knew where the murder weapon was. “Perhaps…when the time is right, the whole story will come out,” she wrote.
At this point in the DN article, Eva Rausing’s story starts to sound a little more confused and unbalanced. She shared her theory that Palme was “shot in the base of the neck” (despite forensic evidence to the contrary from the autopsy). She admitted she “doesn’t have any concrete proof” and won’t say what weapon was used despite the fact that she “knows where it was left.” She waffled on whether she was “100% certain” or possibly wrong regarding her claims. To top it all off, she mentions she has been having ” ‘visions’ ” ever since she suffered “cardiac arrest on the operating table.” Yet she maintains that her claims about the businessman were obtained “from her own husband: ‘I know that my husband told the truth about XX.’”
Gunnar Wall did not take her claims too seriously at first. But she apparently wrote to him, in English: “Don’t forget to investigate if I should suddenly die! Just joking i hope.” Wall says that “Her claims about the Swedish businessman were however not obviously unreasonable, Palme had some very bitter opponents in the business world.”
Wall has other reasons to be concerned. Despite the fact that, as DN reported, cocaine and amphetamines were found in her system, and that she had been treated for addiction and also had a pacemaker, “the cause of Eva Rausing’s death is still unclear.” Her body was found by police in an “insulation tape sealed room in the couple’s luxury home in Chelsea” –and it was found 57 days after her death.
So there you have it. Naturally, there is ample reason to believe that Eva Rausing’s drug addiction caused her to have all sorts of delusions. The tragic story of Eva and Hans Rausing’s battle against addiction is well known to the public. This Vancouver Sun article describes Eva Rausing’s immense contributions to anti-addiction charities. Yet the couple had grown reclusive of late, and the few published photos of them show a gaunt, disheveled pair. When the story broke that Eva had died and her death had gone unreported, it made headlines, yet it was woefully plausible that she and her husband had gotten high together, she had died and he had been too far gone to do anything about it. He has been convicted of impeding her burial.
Nevertheless, many questions remain. Apparently Rausing’s computer has been confiscated and the matter is being investigated.
UPDATE (posted Sept. 7th, 2012): Hans Kristian Rausing has denied his wife’s claims. See the NY Post. Of course, I sort of assumed he would deny her claims… Also see Andy Lawrence’s post on a new mini-series based on Palme’s murder.