10:43 EST 10 July 2012
The wife of one of Britain’s richest men may have been dead for up to a week in a bedroom at the couple’s mansion, it emerged today.
Eva Rausing’s body was found in a bedroom at their £15million London home. Hours after Hans Kristian Rausing was arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs.
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’. He will be in hospital for ‘a matter of days’
A post-mortem examination carried out on Mrs Rausing, 48, was inconclusive and further tests have been ordered to establish cause of death – and when she died.
Last night police said Hans Rausing, who met his wife at a drug addiction clinic in the U.S. 25 years ago, 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 breakdown.
Just weeks ago pictures emerged of the couple looking drawn and dishevelled.
It was a far cry from the image of the pair as an apparent golden couple; society figures in London and active philanthropists.
For many years the only clues to any interest in drugs was their multimillion-pound patronage of a number of addiction-related charities.
But their addiction problems became public in 2008 when Mrs Rausing was arrested after trying to smuggle Class A drugs into a function at the US Embassy.
It is understood Mr Rausing will be in hospital for ‘a matter of days’ with an unspecified illness. His bail is suspended while he is not in police custody and will restart once he is detained again.
Earlier, security staff were called in to help download CCTV cameras from the Chelsea mansion and surrounding area.
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.
Officers 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’.
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.
Discovery: Police found Mrs Rausing’s body in an upstairs bedroom at the five-storey Georgian townhouse
Yesterday 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 house.
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 open-toed sandals.
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.
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 staff.
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 and drinks.
Tetra Pak 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.
Rausing, 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.
Rausing 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 business.
For some 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.
By 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.
A feckless son, the girl he met in rehab and a dynasty torn apart by a fatal addiction
BY RICHARD PENDLEBURY
Prince Charles once argued that his friend Eva Rausing should be given ‘a second chance’. In truth, she had many chances and they were all squandered.
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.
The 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.
Bitter 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.
But 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.
The 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.
Behind 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 evil witches’.
‘Hans (K) 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.
How 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.
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.
Years of 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.
The 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.
Dr 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. While 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.
He 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.
If 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.
Introverted 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.
Perhaps a lack of purpose dogged his otherwise pampered existence; a fateful cocktail when combined with a taste for hard drugs.
Those 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.
When 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.
Eva 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 social problems’.
The 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.
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 handbag.
To their astonishment they found wraps of heroin and crack cocaine.
The 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.
‘I 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.’
Friends said she had been introduced some years earlier to the highly addictive crack – known as a drug of choice in council estates rather than Holland Park.
Friends 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.
In 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.
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.
Before 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.
It was revealed that all charges had been dropped after a ‘protracted correspondence’ between the Rausings’ lawyers and the Crown Prosecution Service.
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.
By 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.
For 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.
Harvard-educated 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.
Sigrid, 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.
When 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.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
Hans Kristian Rausing
8151 29912915 9131957 88
his path of destiny = 88 = Overcoming greed. A real live wire.
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