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Stieg Larsson's brother: we're not greedy

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Stieg Larsson's brother: we're not greedy
15:06 CET+01:00
In a rare public interview, the younger brother of late Swedish author Stieg Larsson rejected claims that he and his father have jealously guarded the author's inheritance from his longtime partner Eva Gabrielsson.

“We've tried to offer Eva something for several years and she's always answered no. There are tons of letters about it. The whole time she's answered, ‘No, I don't want any money or gifts from you,' Joakim Larsson said in an interview broadcast on Sveriges Television (SVT) on Friday night.

Speaking with talk show host Fredrik Skavlan, the younger Larsson added that he was “bothered” that Gabrielsson refused to “tell it like it is”.

The interview comes one week after Skavlan spoke with Gabrielsson about the ongoing dispute over Stieg Larsson's inheritance.

Larsson, 50, died of a heart attack in November 2004, before the publication of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and "The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest", the three books which make up the Millennium trilogy.

Gabrielsson, his partner for 32 years, has been locked in a dispute with Larsson's family over his inheritance. The journalist-turned-novelist died without a will, and the couple never had children.

Because the couple never married, the author's assets -- including copyrights -- automatically went to his father and brother, in according with Swedish law.

The books went on to become best sellers in Sweden and abroad, having sold around 50 million copies worldwide. Film versions of the books were produced in Sweden in 2009, with Hollywood remakes scheduled to be released in late 2011.

In June 2010, soon after a Swedish film adaptation of "Tattoo" was released in the United States, Gabrielsson turned down the family's offer of 20 million kronor ($2.75 million) plus a seat on the board of directors of the company that manages the rights to Larsson's work.

The younger Larsson told Skavlan that Larsson's books have generated 250 million kronor ($38 million) in income so far and guessed that they would generate “at least 100 million kronor more”.

Despite the windfall generated by his late brother's success, Joakim Larsson maintained that he and his father are committed to giving the money away to organisations that work to fight racism and promote women's rights "in Stieg's spirit".

"We have a responsibility to continue Stieg's work," he said.

And while administering the state is a full-time job, Joakim was adamant that he isn't lining his pockets with the riches generated by his brother's works.

“I do take a salary from the company, I do have to support myself,” he admitted. Speaking with the Aftonbladet newspaper, he claimed he paid himself about 30,000 kronor per month.

The author's younger brother also disputed Gabrielsson characterization of his relationship with Stieg as “non-existent”.

“There was nothing strange from my perspective,” he told Skavlan.

“I saw it as a totally normal relationship.”

Gabrielsson has previously cited the fact that she and Stieg weren't invited to Joakim's wedding as a sign of strained relations between the two.

But Joakim Larsson explained the alleged slight by pointing out that he and his wife simply registered their 1989 marriage with public authorities in the presence of their children and parents.

“Not even I was at my own wedding,” he quipped.

Joakim Larsson admitted that his brother would probably not be happy with way things between Gabrielsson and his family have been handled since his untimely death.

“He'd be sad, obviously, he'd say, ‘Why can't you sit down with a cup of coffee and a cigarette and discuss this',” said Joakim Larsson

“Stieg maybe would have wanted us to work together instead of fight.”

According to Larsson, the ongoing disagreement between the two parties started in part over differing opinions about what to do with the manuscript for the fourth book in the Millennium series.

Gabrielsson recently released a memoir claiming she could complete the unfinished fourth volume of the wildly-successful Millennium crime trilogy if she could secure the rights.

Larsson explained that Gabrielsson was “upset” at the thought of handing the manuscript over to publishers following Stieg's death.

He added that by continuing to wrangle over the fourth Millennium book, which he claims his father has seen, Gabrielsson is getting in the way the realisation of her late partner's wishes for the novel.

“Stieg said the income from the fourth book should go to Expo,” said Joakim Larsson.

Expo is the foundation and magazine which the late author helped found and which is dedicated to the study of right-wing extremist and racist movements in Swedish society.

“Eva isn't withholding money from us, she's withholding money from Expo,” he added.

Nevertheless, Joakim Larsson expressed hope that someday, his family and Gabrielsson could patch up their differences.

"I hope she can come to us and participate in the administration (of the estate)," he said.

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