Long before the books about Lisbeth Salander and way before the founding of Expo, but in the midst of his investigation of extremists on the right, the journalist Stieg Larsson started to have an interest also in the murder of Olof Palme. The result is the documents you can see here.
“The Palme murder was very high on Stieg’s agenda. Suddenly all his roads met: the study of right wing extremism and the catastrophe brought to Swedish politics by the murder. It came close and it was urgent”, says Eva Gabrielsson, Stieg Larsson’s partner.
His work produced very concrete results. Today SvD can reveal what information Stieg Larsson handed over to the Palme inquiry.
We have had exclusive access to Stieg Larsson’s archive, around 15 removal boxes, that he worked will up to his death in 1994.
We have also continued in his tracks and found new information. The outcome of our investigation will be published in the days to come.
years have past since the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme
On Friday it will be 28 years since the shots were fired in Sveavägen, the 28th Palme, Stieg Larsson immediately started investigating if there were individuals or groups behind the murder.
Fairly soon he found himself in known territory: in extreme right groups such as Demokratisk Allians and in the extreme right magazine Contra there were traces to follow.
In 1986-1987 with the help of contacts at the British magazine Searchlight, which stood model for Expo, Stieg Larsson came over unique information about a Swedish military ex-officer, agent for South Africa and known to the police investigation: Bertil Wedin.
Information given to SvD shows that the original source, an agent who at the time worked for Britain’s MI6, came across Bertil Wedin in Cyprus in 1986. After the meeting the agent contacted Searchlight and gave them the tip that Bertil Wedin could have acted as a go-between in the murder of Olof Palme.
The tip reached Stieg Larsson via Searchlight. Straight away he began an extensive search for facts about Bertil Wedin, who at the time also was a well-known person in circles on the extreme right.
Stieg Larsson received masses of information about Bertil Wedin from Searchlight:
* Passport data about his travels around the world, including South Africa.
* Financial status showing his assets and his income.
* Detailed information from the Cyprus Police about his habits and of several arrests.
* The information that he had applied for an arms license because he “was afraid of his previous South African business contacts”.
Stieg Larsson compiled this material and his own information and sent the whole lot to the Palme inquiry in the autumn of 1987. In the documents sources also describe Bertil Wedin as “a gun for hire” and he likes to appear as “macho and dangerous”.
The so-called South Africa trail – that the South African security service was behind the murder of Olof Palme – hit the Swedish media in the mid-90’s. Stieg Larsson’s memorandum shows that he already in 1987gave the Police the tip that South Africa could have been involved: Several sources claim that Wedin mostly worked for the Soutj African Secret Police, Boss, since the 1970’s and that he is believed to be the top organiser of the murder of Ruth First.
Ruth First was a personal friend of Olof Palme and was murdered in 1982.
The South African super spy Craig Williamson, who was in Sweden at the time of the murder of Olof Palme, has later been given an amnesty for the letter bomb to Ruth First. Already in 1982 Bertil Wedin admitted in a British court that he had been recruited as an agent by Craig Williamson. On that occasion Wedin was acquitted of the accusation of having broken into the London office of the South African party PAC on order from Craig Williamson.
Stieg Larsson ends his memorandum to the Palme investigators saying:
“In February 1986 he (Wedin) was in South Africa.”
“I have nothing to lose from the truth being established since I am luckily not the murderer.”
Bertil Wedin moved to London in 1975 and then on to Turkish North Cyprus in November 1985, three months before the murder of Olof Palme. That is where he is still living today, in a nation that has no extradition treaties with other countries.
He has been one of the trails that Swedish Police have been following quite intensely but in spite of him being under investigation for more than 27 years no Swedish police has so far been able to interview him, besides a short telephone call.
It is obvious that it is Stieg Larsson who has written the documents and given them to the Police.
Stieg Larssons partner Eva Gabrielsson
“There could be no one else. Furthermore it is written on his type-writer. It is clear that Stieg handed this over to the Palme inquiry”, says Eva Gabrielsson.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Kerstin Skarp is leading the official police inquiry and has work with it since 1997. She does not want to comment the fact that the Police have not been able to conduct a formal interview with Bertil Wedin, but she says that he is not taken off the list.
“I do not want to go into specific trails in the inquiry. But Bertil Wedin is not one that we are pursuing with any intensity at the moment.”
What is your own gut feeling? Is it a conspiracy?
“I think you need to have a very open minds in this case. I can say this much: Had there been a large gang, the case would have been solved by now. Had it been four-five people planning this, like a bank robbery, they would not have been able to keep quiet.”
“But then, if someone has commissioned someone else, and particularly if the commission did not come from Sweden, well, in that case it is clearly easier to keep quiet. It could be someone who has disappeared in smoke for us; people who have been flown in and the flown away”, says Kerstin Skarp.
Here is no doubt that Stieg Larsson’s memorandum is being used in the official inquiry. When a big Government Commission went through all the leads in the Palme case, the tip about Bertil Wedin was considered so important that the Commission quoted its content on almost a full page.
“Stieg showed most interest in South Africa and Bertil Wedin. He was not at all interested in Christer Pettersson. His take was this material about right wing extremism”.
So how interested was he?
“A lot. He believed there was something there.”