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Tests may shed light on billionaire's death

11 July 2012, 17:37

London - Investigators were conducting further tests on Wednesday in a bid to shed light on the death of Eva Rausing, one of Britain's richest women, whose body was found in her west London home.

Her husband, Hans Kristian Rausing, has been arrested in connection with her death, which police are treating as unexplained.

US-born Eva Rausing, aged 48, and her husband were wealthy philanthropists who have both waged a long battle against drug addiction.

They were arrested on drug charges in 2008 after Eva Rausing was caught trying to smuggle crack cocaine and heroin into the US Embassy in London in her handbag.

Hans Kristian Rausing, aged 49, is an heir to the TetraPak fortune his father built as a globally successful manufacturer of laminated cardboard drink containers.

Police found Eva Rausing dead at her multimillion-pound London home on Monday. Initial post-mortem examinations on Tuesday failed to establish a formal cause of her death.

Search led to discovery

The Metropolitan Police said officers arrested a 49-year-old man Monday in connection with the case. Police did not release the man's name but offered details of the arrest in response to a question about Hans Kristian Rausing.

They said they arrested the man on suspicion of drug possession, and that a subsequent search of an address in London's upmarket Belgravia neighbourhood related to that arrest led to the discovery of Eva Rausing's body later that day.

Police said he remained under arrest on Wednesday but was receiving medical attention at a location away from a police station. They would not say if the man was under guard.

Eva Rausing's parents, Tom and Nancy Kemeny, and the rest of her family paid tribute to a "devoted wife" and mother of four "much loved and wonderful children", saying they were devastated over her death. Their statement also alluded to her struggles.

"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 family said in a statement. "She bravely fought her health issues for many years."

A statement from her in-laws, Hans and Marit Rausing, said they were "deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death".

Diplomatic scandal

Eva Rausing supported a number of charities that helped to fight addictions. One of them — Action on Addiction — was among the first to express sadness over her death and praise her "wonderfully generous" support over the years.

She also was listed as a long-time supporter of The Prince's Foundation, part of a group of nonprofit charities that have Prince Charles as their patron. His office said the prince was told of Rausing's death but did not offer further comment.

In a diplomatic scandal in 2008, Eva Rausing was arrested outside the US Embassy for reportedly trying to bring crack cocaine and heroin into the building in her handbag.

Police later found small amounts of cocaine, crack and heroin in a search of the couple's house. They were charged with drug possession but prosecutors later agreed to drop the charges in exchange for formal police warnings.

At the time, the Rausing family issued a statement saying relatives were "deeply saddened" by the couple's drug problems and hoped they could overcome their addictions.

Hans Rausing's Swedish father helped transform TetraPak into a hugely successful manufacturer. The fortune of the senior Rausing and his family is estimated at £4.3bn by the Sunday Times Rich List.

- AP


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