- Hans Kristian Rausing, 49, arrested on suspicion of drug possession
- Officers found body of wife, Eva, 48, at home in Cadogan Place, Chelsea
- Rausing taken to hospital after being questioned by Scotland Yard detectives
- His father Hans built up a £5.4bn fortune with packaging firm Tetra Pak
- Three members of staff at the house have been questioned by police
Chris Greenwood, David Williams, Sam Greenhill and Christian Gysin
15:43 GMT, 10 July 2012
10:02 GMT, 11 July 2012
One of Britain’s richest men was being questioned last night about the mysterious death of his wife.
Hours after Hans Kristian Rausing was arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs, his wife Eva’s body was found in a bedroom at their £70million London home.
The 49-year-old father of four, an heir to the £4.5billion Tetra Pak drinks carton fortune, was being questioned in connection with what Scotland Yard called an ‘unexplained death’.
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Found dead: Eva Rausing, left, was discovered at her exclusive Chelsea
home having apparently died of a drugs overdose. Her husband Hans,
right, was arrested
Last night police said Hans Rausing remained under arrest but had been taken to hospital for medical treatment.
Officials refused to discuss why but
the news prompted speculation that he had suffered some kind of
Earlier, security staff were called in to help download CCTV
cameras from the Chelsea mansion and surrounding area.
A post mortem examination was carried
out yesterday afternoon on 48-year-old Mrs Rausing, but failed to find
the cause of death.
Fortune: Hans, left, is heir to his father’s £5.4bn packaging fortune
Hans Rausing was arrested on suspicion of driving erratically in South London at lunchtime on Monday and was found to be carrying Class A drugs
Further toxicology tests will take place to
determine whether drugs or alcohol were responsible.
Her husband of almost 20 years was
arrested on suspicion of driving erratically in South London at
lunchtime on Monday and was found to be carrying Class A drugs.
searched his home to see if more illicit substances were there, and
found his wife’s body.
Specialist police teams carried out tests throughout yesterday at the six-storey house in Cadogan Place.
Details of their son’s arrest and
daughter-in-law’s death were broken to 86-year-old Hans Rausing and his
wife Marit at their 900-acre East Sussex estate. They issued a statement
saying they were ‘deeply shocked and saddened’.
Devastated: The family of Eva Rausing said she bravely fought her health issues for many years but helped others with her charity work
Eva Rausing’s father Tom Kemeny is a
former Pepsi executive who owns an island off South Carolina and a
property in Barbados with his wife Nancy. The couple also have a
£10million property near their late daughter’s home in Cadogan Place.
They said of their daughter: ‘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. She bravely fought her health issues for many
years. The family is devastated at her death.’
Eva Rausing was a co-patron with the
Duchess of Cambridge of the drug charity Action on Addiction. Officials
said they were ‘devastated’ by the tragedy.
Within hours of the discovery of the
body, police seized security CCTV footage from inside and outside the
property focusing on Cadogan Place and a mews at the rear.
Ravaged by their drug problems: Eva and Hans Rausing met at an addiction clinic in the U.S. 25 years ago
Discovery: Police found Mrs Rausing’s body in an upstairs bedroom at the five-storey Georgian townhouse
morning a detective showed a security expert out through a back door of
the house and walked up and down the mews lane, working out which CCTV
cameras had a view of the Rausings’ back door. An hour later, the
security technician removed a CCTV hard disk drive from inside the
Neighbours include Philip Havers QC –
whose father Michael was Attorney General and then Lord Chancellor
before becoming Baron Havers. His brother is the actor Nigel Havers.
In recent weeks, Mr and Mrs Rausing
had seen out walking in the area. He often wore a baseball cap while
clutching a pack of rolling tobacco. His wife wore cut-off trousers and
In addition to their London property,
the couple had an 11-bedroom beachside mansion in Barbados and an
apartment on The World, a cruise ship for passengers who need to be off
shore for tax-avoidance purposes.
Probe: A police officer patrols the area surrounding Cadogan Place, where Mrs Rausing’s body was found
FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS TO WORLD’S LARGEST PACKAGING COMPANY
Founded more than 60 years ago, Tetra
Pak has grown to become the world’s largest food packaging company,
operating in more than 170 countries and employing more than 22,000
The company owes
its success to – and takes its name from – the tetrahedron food
package, which revolutionised the storage of items such as milk, soups
was created by Ruben Rausing in 1951, as a subsidiary to Akerland
Rausing, a food carton company which was set up by Rausing and the
industrialist Erik Åkerlund in Malmo, Sweden, in 1929.
who had studied in New York during the early 1920s, invested in food
packaging techniques after becoming inspired by self-service grocery
stores he saw in the US, which were rarely found in Europe at the time.
and Åkerlund bought a factory in Sweden but by 1933 Åkerlund sold his
share to Rausing, whose family later oversaw a dramatic expansion of the
four decades, the company was headed by Rausing’s sons, Hans and Gad,
who oversaw its growth from a small family business with only six
employees in the early 1950s to a major multinational.
1960 the company had opened a plant in Mexico and was producing more
than 1billion cartons a year. Within four years, the production output
had more than trebled.
Ruben Rausing died in 1983, by which time the company was running plants in Pakistan, Kenya and Finland.
More than 129billion Tetra Pak units were produced by the company in 2006.
The company is now privately owned by the family of Gad Rausing through the Swiss-based holding company Tetra Laval.
BY RICHARD PENDLEBURY
Charles once argued that his friend Eva Rausing should be given ‘a
second chance’. In truth, she had many chances and they were all
Few who knew Eva and her husband Hans Kristian will be surprised at the tragic and premature nature of her end.
Those outside their gilded circle will be reminded yet again that money and happiness are often strangers.
Guard: Two police community support officers stand outside the front door to the couple’s Belgravia home
Tetra Pak drinks carton is a wonder of neatness and efficiency. The
recent history of the Rausing family, whose fabulous wealth came from
its invention, is anything but that.
divorces have blighted the family tree of Dr Hans Rausing, the austere
Swedish patriarch who 30 years ago became a tax exile in the UK. Before
the arrival of the oligarchs from the former Soviet Union, he was said
to be our richest resident.
it was the savage, decades-long and mutually supportive drug addictions
of his feckless only son and beautiful American daughter-in-law which
eventually split the clan apart.
problem became public only in 2008 when Eva was arrested after trying
to smuggle Class A drugs into a function at the US Embassy.
It should have been a salutary lesson.
It wasn’t, and after that the couple’s relationship with Hans K’s parents and sisters became acrimonious in the extreme.
The wider family did everything it could to help and protect those directly affected by the couple’s drug addiction.
their backs, and in the grip of her narcotics-fuelled anger and
paranoia, Eva called her two sisters-in-law ‘the evil twins’ or ‘the
has great integrity … I feel his family has acted extremely
dishonourably towards him,’ she wrote of her husband in an email in
2010. ‘I now realise my in-laws are very powerful people.’
The rest of the Rausing family looked on in sadness and despair.
very far it all seems from the events of small-town Sweden in the
1940s, where the idea was born that made the Rausing fortune.
Life of privilege: The Rausings at a society ball eight years ago
Family legend says that it came from
Hans K’s grandmother, Elisabeth. Her husband Reuben Rausing ran a
packaging company, and she suggested that there could be an alternative
to milk bottles.
development led to Tetra Pak being launched in the town of Lund in 1951.
Within a decade, the airtight cardboard tetrahedron had a near monopoly
on a market worth tens of millions of pounds.
Rausing sons, Hans senior and Gad, took over the business. But Sweden’s
high-rate taxation saw them first move their HQ to Switzerland, and
then their residences to the UK, where Hans made his home in 1982.
Rausing sold his share of the company to Gad for a reported £3.5billion
in 1995, and no longer has a direct interest in the business.
Earlier this year, his fortune was estimated to be £4.3billion.
he owns a number of properties abroad – including a £50million estate
in Barbados – Dr Rausing’s main home continues to be a property set in
900 acres near Wadhurst in Sussex.
collects vintage cars and supports charitable causes – for which he
received an honorary knighthood – and the Tory Party, but his tastes are
not extravagant by the standards of his vast wealth.
Dr Rausing was not the genius behind the family billions, then he and
his brother Gad at least played a crucial role in Tetra Pak’s
development. His son, Hans Kristian did not.
as a boy, he has long lived under the shadow of his 6ft 8in father and
the family’s achievements, while enjoying the boundless material fruits.
a lack of purpose dogged his otherwise pampered existence; a fateful
cocktail when combined with a taste for hard drugs.
became part of his life when, in his early 20s, he took the hippy route
to Kathmandu and, metaphorically at least, never looked back.
His inextricable connection to drugs had begun.
It was at an addiction clinic in the US 25 years ago that he met Eva Kemeny, the vivacious daughter of a Pepsi-Cola executive.
they married, this troubled early part of their life together was for
many years a secret confined only to those who knew them intimately.
To the rest they were an apparently golden couple; society figures in London and active philanthropists.
The only clues to any interest in drugs was their multi-million-pound patronage of a number of addiction-related charities.
was also on the board of Prince Charles’s Prince’s Foundation for
Building Community, which aims ‘to create urban areas that encourage a
sense of community and pride of place’ and which aims to ‘alleviate
heir to the throne also described Hans K as ‘one very special
philanthropist’. Why? Because the prince’s good causes had benefited
considerably – possibly to the tune of millions.
Fortune: Swedish businessman billionaire Hans Rausing has a reported personal wealth of £5.4bn. His son, also called Hans, is in police custody
The façade, however, came tumbling
down one fateful evening in April 2008. Eva was attending a party at the
US Embassy in Grosvenor Square when security guards searched her
To their astonishment they found wraps of heroin and crack cocaine.
police were called and she was arrested. When officers searched the
couple’s £70million home in Cadogan Place they found more heroin and
crack cocaine, as well as £2,000 of pure cocaine.
Both husband and wife were charged with possession offences, which carried a maximum prison sentence of seven years.
Eva issued a statement of contrition, saying: ‘I have made a serious mistake, which I very much regret.
consider myself to have taken a wrong turn in the course of my life. I
am ashamed of my actions. I hope in due course to get back on track to
become the person I truly want to be.’
Night out: The couple leave a high society party thrown by Tatler Magazine and Daimler Chrysler in 2003
said she had been introduced some years earlier to the highly addictive
crack – known as a drug of choice in council estates rather than
leapt to her defence. Eric Carlin, the chief executive of the anti-drug
charity Mentor UK, of which Eva was a founder and patron, said she had
given the charity more than £600,000. ‘If it wasn’t for Mrs Rausing, I’m
not sure we could have stayed afloat,’ he said.
Yet that sum was a drop in the ocean for the Rausings. And it had done nothing to change her own behaviour.
As the couple awaited their day in court, there were further signs of the chaotic life they now led.
June 2008, Hans K reportedly escaped out of the window of his Chelsea
home when police called to question him about a mysterious accident in
which his car had been involved.
Tragic: Eva Rausing, pictured after she was arrested for drug possession in 2008, was found dead by police officers
Officers used a battering ram to gain
entry to his locked bedroom, but he had vanished – and appears not to
have been charged with anything.
The following month, however, the Rausings’ drugs case was heard at Westminster magistrates’ court.
the hearing, Mr Rausing’s family issued a statement saying: ‘We hope
with all our hearts that Hans K and Eva can overcome their addiction and
we continue to do what we can to help.’
The couple did not appear in court, and the hearing surprised and angered many.
was revealed that all charges had been dropped after a ‘protracted
correspondence’ between the Rausings’ lawyers and the Crown Prosecution
Instead, they both accepted a ‘conditional caution’. They would not have criminal records as a result.
The then Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair described the deal as ‘very surprising’.
But Prince Charles indicated that Eva should be given a ‘second chance’ and remain involved with his charities.
then, the Rausing family had gathered for a crisis meeting. An attempt
to get Hans K into a Thai rehab clinic was resisted by him.
their part, Hans K’s two older, London-based sisters, Lisbet and
Sigrid, had both experienced broken first marriages, but found stability
with second husbands.
Lisbet is married to Peter Baldwin, professor of history at the
University of California, Los Angeles. Together they run Arcadia, a
foundation which channels her fortune into good causes, such as the
London School of Oriental and African Studies, which has received
£20million in the past decade.
They own a home in Holland Park and a 48,000-acre Scottish estate.
the publisher of Portobello Books and Granta magazine, is married to
former Panorama producer Eric Abrahams. She also gives away around
£20million a year to charity and professes to have been embarrassed by
her wealth as a teenager.
she and Eric moved into their own Holland Park home in 1997, it was
reportedly – at £20million – the most expensive house ever sold in the
capital with the second-biggest garden after Buckingham Palace.
The sisters took the lead in trying to help the family. This week’s events only confirm how desperate the situation was.
For all the money that was at her disposal thanks to a simple milk carton, Eva Rausing has no more chances left.
Video: Police guard £70million London home where Eva Rausing’s body was found
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