LONDON (Reuters) - The American wife of an heir to the Tetra Pak drinks carton fortune has been found dead in London, police said on Tuesday, and a man who may be Eva Rausing’s husband was arrested in connection with her death and on suspicion of drugs possession.
Police described the arrested man only as being 49 years old, the same age as Hans Kristian Rausing, the London-based philanthropist son of Swedish packaging billionaire Hans Rausing, one of the world’s richest men.
British media said the arrested man was “believed to be” the younger Rausing, and that he had been arrested after a search of the couple’s home in the wealthy Belgravia district where Eva Rausing, 48, with whom he had four children, was found dead.
The couple have had well publicized struggles with drug addiction - they were reported to have met at a rehab clinic in the United States and hit headlines in 2008 when Eva Rausing was found carrying crack cocaine and heroin into London’s U.S. embassy.
She was a patron of a drug abuse charity with a host of royal benefactors around the world and a trustee of a community development fund founded by Britain’s Prince Charles.
Her parents issued a statement describing her generosity and long battles with “health issues”. Hans Kristian Rausing’s parents issued a statement asking for privacy.
Police said the detained man was getting medical attention and that the murder squad had been investigating since Eva Rausing was found dead in Belgravia on Monday.
In 2008, after charges for drug possession following the embassy incident were dropped, Eva Rausing, daughter of businessman Tom Kemeny, said: “I have made a grave error and consider myself to have taken a wrong turn in the course of my life.”
Hans Rausing, whose father founded Tetra Laval in 1944, moved to Britain in the 1980s, complaining of high taxes in his native Sweden. He later sold his share of the business, which produces the ubiquitous drinks cartons, to his brother in the 1990s. Hans Rausing has two daughters and one son.
Forbes magazine estimates 86-year-old Hans Rausing is worth $10 billion, making him the 88th richest person in the world.
“Hans and Marit Rausing and their family are deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of their daughter-in-law Eva Louise Rausing,” the family said in a statement. “They ask that their privacy be respected at this sad time.”
Eva Rausing’s parents, Tom and Nancy Kemeny, said they were “deeply saddened by the death of their beloved daughter”.
“Eva was a devoted wife for 20 years and mother of four much loved and wonderful children,” they said. “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.”
She was a patron of the British arm of the Mentor Foundation, a worldwide drug abuse prevention group whose president is Queen Silvia of Sweden, and also a trustee of Prince Charles’s Prince’s Foundation for Building Community.
Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald in London and Niklas Pollard in Stockholm; Writing by Alastair Macdonald