Billionaire's son in court over death of wife, Eva Rausing

Tom Kemeny poses with his daughter Eva Louise on her wedding day.

Story highlights

  • Hans Kristian Rausing is accused of preventing lawful and decent burial of his wife
  • Rausing looked frail as he appeared in court, UK media say
  • He's the son of one of the world's richest men
  • Eva Rausing was bright, intelligent and devoted to her children, her father says

Hans Kristian Rausing, the son of one of the world's richest men, appeared in court Wednesday charged with "preventing the lawful and decent burial" of his wife, Eva, UK media said.

Her body was discovered in an advanced state of decomposition on the floor by a bed in an annex of the couple's central London mansion, the Press Assocation news agency said.

Rausing looked frail as he appeared in the courtroom, the news agency said.

His appearance came a day after he was charged by London police with preventing his wife's lawful and decent burial.

Eva Rausing's body was found last week when police searched the couple's home after her husband was stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and then arrested on drug charges.

Did billionaire prevent wife's burial?
Did billionaire prevent wife's burial?


    Did billionaire prevent wife's burial?


Did billionaire prevent wife's burial? 00:10
Mystery surrounds death of wealthy wife
Mystery surrounds death of wealthy wife


    Mystery surrounds death of wealthy wife


Mystery surrounds death of wealthy wife 00:10

Hans Kristian Rausing, 49, is the son of Hans Rausing, who is worth an estimated $10 billion, thanks to the family's connection to Swedish packaging giant Tetra Laval.

A statement released on behalf of his parents by a public relations firm representing the family said they wanted privacy to grieve.

"Hans and Marit Rausing and their families are mourning the death of their son's beloved wife, Eva. Her death, and the details of subsequent events, are a reminder of the distorted reality of drug addiction," the statement said.

"They desperately hope that their dear son, Hans, may find the strength to begin the long and hard journey of detoxification and rehabilitation."

Hans Kristian Rausing was initially arrested on suspicion of murder after the discovery of his wife's body but has not been charged with that crime.

The death of his 48-year-old wife remains unexplained pending further tests, police said Friday, but the heiress's previous problems with drugs are well documented.

Her father, Tom Kemeny, paid tribute Tuesday to his "beloved daughter." He described her as an "American philanthropist, loving wife and mother, who helped countless addicts, and children." The tribute was e-mailed to reporters by a public relations firm representing the family.

Read the full tribute

He also expressed the family's love and support for her husband.

Recounting her early life, starting with her birth in Hong Kong in 1963, Kemeny painted a picture of a bright and loving, but shy, girl.

"We think she started experimenting with drugs in her late teens to overcome her shyness," he wrote, adding that this drug use affected her studies in California.

His daughter eventually recovered in the 1980s and dedicated many of her efforts to helping other addicts, he said, before marrying Rausing, with whom she had four children.

Swedish billionaire's son Rausing arrested after wife, Eva, found dead

The couple continued to support her "life-long vocation in helping those with drug addiction," Kemeny said, helping to "save" the lives of many other people -- though "tragically, not her own."

He also paid tribute to her sharp wit and intelligence, devotion to her children and care for others.

A Kemeny family statement released with his tribute said: "We believe her tragic death highlights the scourge of drugs and that it does not matter how rich, intelligent or beautiful you are, you can still be impacted and overcome by this terrible disease."

Kemeny said the best way to remember his daughter would be to carry on her efforts to help those battling addiction, especially women.

"Eva would have wanted the memory of her life to be used to benefit others facing similar addiction challenges in their lives," his tribute said. "The Kemeny family hopes this tribute will be used to draw attention to the tragedy of drug addiction and to generate awareness and financial support for this cause in the future."

UK police: Billionaire's son Rausing arrested on suspicion of murder

The Kemeny family intends to set up a foundation in her memory in due time, it said.

The family statement also appeals for donations in Eva Rausing's name to a drug awareness and treatment fund, or to the UK charity Action on Addiction, which she supported.

It quotes Nick Barton, chief executive of Action on Addiction, as saying: "Eva worked tirelessly for years, without any desire for public recognition and despite her own health issues, to help people and charities in the addiction field through her wonderfully generous support."

"Eva and Hans Kristian were a devoted and loving couple for the 21 years they spent together. They benefited thousands of lives through their personal involvement and philanthropic activities," Kemeny wrote.

"They bravely battled their demons and supported each other and Eva will be a devastating loss to our beloved 'son' Hans Kristian, whom we love unconditionally with all our hearts."