Heirs bid to end Stieg Larsson inheritance row

Relatives of Stieg Larsson, the late Swedish author of the popular "Millennium" crime novels, have offered his former girlfriend 20 million kronor ($2.8 million) to settle a protracted inheritance dispute.

Heirs bid to end Stieg Larsson inheritance row

In an interview with the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper, Larsson’s father and brother say they simply want to put the matter behind them and move on.

The “Millennium” trilogy has become a phenomenon in Sweden and abroad, translated into more than 30 languages and made into a movie. According to the newspaper’s calculations, Larsson’s “Millennium”-trilogy books have so far earned about 130 million kronor.

Its popularity is a striking contrast to their author’s tragic fate.

Larsson, who worked as a journalist in Stockholm before writing the trilogy, did not live to enjoy the sensational success; he died in November 2004 of a heart attack, aged 50, a year before the first book of the series was published.

Following Larsson’s death, all of his assets went to his father and brother, leaving his long-time partner Eva Gabrielsson with no claim to any of the author’s ever-expanding inheritance.

A heated media debate followed, filled with accusations about who was the rightful heir to Larsson’s works and assets.

Father Erland and brother Joakim Larsson told SvD they are tired of being portrayed as the “bad guys” in the story and that they have always sought to reach an agreement.

But after five years, they say they still have not had any contact with Gabrielsson.

“We have wanted all along to reach an agreement with her. But she has refused to talk to us all these years,” Erland Larsson told the newspaper.

“We don’t have the energy to wait another five years. We have to move on,” added Joakim Larsson.

A legal battle would also likely be drawn out and costly and now the family has decided to make an offer.

Legally speaking, Larsson’s father and brother are the only two heirs because Larsson and Gabrielsson were neither married nor had drawn up a will giving them any claim to one another’s assets.

At the same time, Gabrielsson has said that Larsson called the book’s manuscript their pension when he handed it over to the Norstedt publishing house.

Gabrielsson and Larsson lived together for 30 years. According to her, one reason they never married was that Larsson wanted to protect her from potential reprisals from his efforts to survey Swedish Nazism, both in his Expo newspaper and other books.

“She was a part of Stieg’s life. She should live comfortably. We can give her 20 million kronor … No strings attached. But she has to call and accept the offer,” Larsson’s brother said of the offer.

The “Millennium”-trilogy has sold more than 20 million copies in Europe, including 3.5 million in Sweden.

The books depict a dark and violent Sweden brimming with state and family secrets, and follow the lives of Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative reporter, and Lisbeth Salander, a feisty rebel hacker-turned-detective.

Last year Larsson was one of the best-selling authors in the world, according to SvD.

In addition, Swedish moviegoers have filled the country’s cinemas to watch the film adaptations of Larsson’s books, with Hollywood studies also pressing for permission to make their own version.

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