Police probe wife’s mystery death as husband is held, also on drugs charges

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LONDON: British police are investigating the mysterious death of Eva Rausing, the wife of the heir to the Tetra Pak packaging fortune, after arresting a man reported to be her husband.

Eva, one of Britain’s richest women, was found dead on Monday at the luxury home she shared with her husband, Hans Kristian Rausing, in the wealthy Belgravia district, London’s Metropolitan Police said.

Officers found the American’s body during a search of the five-storey townhouse, after arresting a 49-year-old man, believed to be her husband, on suspicion of possessing drugs.

The man was then arrested in connection with the woman’s death, but has since been moved to a medical facility where he is still receiving treatment, police said.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard was not able to confirm that the suspect is Hans Kristian, who stands to inherit his Swedish father’s multibillion-dollar carton empire.

A post-mortem on Tuesday did not establish a formal cause of death and further tests are being carried out.

The family, headed by Hans Kristian’s father, Hans, is the 12th richest in Britain, worth £4.3 billion (R54.9bn), according to The Sunday Times newspaper’s Rich List 2012.

Eva and Hans Kristian were active philanthropists and enjoyed an affluent lifestyle, spending much of their time in their 11-bedroomed mansion in Barbados – but had well-publicised problems with drugs. The couple, who have four teenage children, met at a US addiction clinic and were charged in 2008 after Eva tried to take crack cocaine and heroin into a function at the US embassy in London. Prosecutors subsequently decided to drop the charges.

Eva was the daughter of Tom Kemeny, a wealthy US Pepsi executive.

Her parents said: “Eva was a devoted wife for 20 years and mother of four much-loved and wonderful children

. During her short lifetime she made a huge philanthropic impact, supporting a large number of charitable causes, not only financially, but using her own personal experiences.”

The Rausing family said they were “deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of our daughter-in-law”.

Action on Addiction, one of the addiction charities that the couple supported, said it was “devastated” to hear of her death.

“Without any desire for public recognition, Eva has, through her wonderfully generous support of this and other charities, helped so many people for over 20 years,” said a spokesman. – Sapa-AFP


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