Stieg Larsson gave papers to police 'linking Palme murder to South Africa'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 February, 2014, 1:22am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 February, 2014, 1:23am

Sweden's greatest unsolved murder mystery has taken another twist - revelations that Swedish crime blockbuster novelist writer Stieg Larsson had sent police evidence linking Prime Minister Olof Palme's 1986 murder to South Africa.

Svenska Dagbladet newspaper reported yesterday the novelist behind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo sent police 15 boxes of papers that he said linked Palme's shooting to a Swedish former military officer alleged to have links to South African security services.

Books by Larsson, who died of a heart attack in 2004, have sold more than 75 million copies in 50 countries.

The latest report has made headlines across Sweden, where, just as with Kennedy's assassination in the United States, Palme's killing has spawned a legion of conspiracy theories.

Palme, a vocal critic of the apartheid regime in South Africa, was shot as he walked along a street in central Stockholm on February 28 after going to the cinema with his wife.

A petty criminal was found guilty of the crime in 1989 but was released that year on appeal. Police were widely accused of bungling the investigation.

The Swede suspected by Larsson of the killing, Bertil Wedin, denied being involved.

"I have nothing to lose from the truth being established since I am luckily not the murderer," he told Svenska Dagbladet.

Deputy Prosecutor-General Kerstin Skarp, who is leading the inquiry into the killing, told the newspaper Wedin "is not someone we are pursuing with any intensity at the moment".

Wedin's name was broached already in the 1990s amid intense media coverage of an alleged South African connection.

The killing spawned so many private investigations, including Larsson's, that a name was coined for them - "privatspanare", or private scouts.

Private investigators have pointed the finger at an array of suspects, from Sweden's own security services to Kurdish separatists and the South African and Yugoslav secret police.

Palme, Social Democrat prime minister between 1969 and 1976 and again between 1982 and 1986, was hated by conservatives for his anti-colonial views and criticism of the US.