The heir to the £5.4bn Tetra Pak drinks carton empire was arrested yesterday on suspicion of possessing crack cocaine and heroin. Hans Kristian Rausing, the son of one of Britain's richest men, was detained at his Chelsea home after Eva, his American-born wife was arrested, allegedly trying to smuggle small "wraps" of the class-A drugs into a function at the US embassy in Grosvenor Square.
Mrs Rausing, 44, was arrested shortly after 4pm on Tuesday after having had her handbag searched and her overcoat confiscated by security guards at the heavily fortified venue. Police took her to Charing Cross police station, where she was questioned, fingerprinted and photographed; she also gave DNA samples.
A subsequent raid on the couple's £5m, five-storey home led to the discovery of an alleged £2,000 worth of drugs. Mr Rausing, 44, was at home. The couple, who are among London's most celebrated philanthropists and have devoted much of their lives to charity work designed to keep young people off drugs, were freed on police bail until July.
Mrs Rausing, the daughter of the American Pepsi executive, Tom Kemeny, promised yesterday to seek professional help. "I have made a serious mistake which I very much regret," she said. "I intend to leave as soon as possible to seek the help that I very much need I have made a grave error and I consider myself to have taken a wrong turn in the course of my life. I am very sorry for the upset I have caused. I thank my family and friends for the kindness and understanding they have shown me."
The couple, who are thought to have met while attending rehab in America, have four children. The arrests could now lead to a social services investigation into their care. Mr Rausing's 81-year-old Swedish father, also called Hans, inherited the Tetra Pak (later Tetra Laval) food-packaging label. Now it is the largest packaging company in the world.
A tax exile, Hans Rausing Snr owns properties in Sweden and the Caribbean but lives mostly at Wadhurst, East Sussex, where he collects vintage cars. He and his brother Gad built up the Tetra Pak brand after their father, Ruben, invented the now ubiquitous lightweight drink cartons.
Hans Kristian, who spent much of his youth as a hippie in India, has no official involvement in Tetra Laval, the parent company to Tetra Pak. His father retired in 1995 and handed control to Gad.
At that time, Hans Kristian was reportedly setting up a British-based financial services company. But although he has been the director of two UK companies, both were dissolved. Hans Kristian owns a flat on The World, a luxury cruise liner for the super-rich that continuously circumnavigates the globe. He and his wife have acted as principal donors and principal fundraisers to the charity Mentor, which helps young people deal with drug problems. Eva Rausing is its patron.
The Rausing family fortune
Hans Rausing Snr, 82, is a Swedish industrialist who has given close to £150m to charity. His father, Ruben, founded the Tetra Pak brand and designed the first drink carton packages in 1951. Its name comes from the tetrahedral shape of the initial design. In 1954, Ruben Rausing passed responsibility for Tetra Pak (later Tetra Laval) to Hans and his brother Gad, who turned it into a global giant from their homes in Lund, southern Sweden. When Ruben died in 1983, he was the richest man in Sweden. Hans Rausing Snr, a financial backer of the Conservative Party, sold his 50 per cent stake in the company to his late brother Gad for £4.4bn in 1995. He has since invested in Ecolean, a sustainable packaging brand used by Marks & Spencer and Carrefour. His children, daughters Lisbet and Sigrid and son Hans Kristian, are major philanthropists. Hans Kristian grew up in Lund but spent years as a hippie in India.