Sweden financier Peter Wallenberg dies in sleep

UPDATED: One of Sweden's most powerful financiers, Peter Wallenberg, has died at the age of 88, with the country's King Carl XVI Gustaf saying he had lost "a close and loyal friend".

Sweden financier Peter Wallenberg dies in sleep
Peter Wallenberg in 2014. Photo: TT
Peter Wallenberg, who was born in 1926, came from one of Sweden's most prominent families, with other relatives active in banking, politics, diplomacy and business.
His most famous relative was Raoul Wallenberg, a diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust during World War Two and who went missing seventy years ago this weekend.
Peter Wallenberg had a long career in finance after graduating from law school. He worked in the UK, the US and Africa, before settling in Sweden and working on the board of several leading industrial companies including Electrolux and Ericsson. He also helped establish Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca in 1999.
Until earlier this month he had remained active in the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, a Sweden's largest private financial research organisation.
During the past five years, the foundation has granted a total of five billion kronor for various projects, mainly at Swedish universities.
"With deep regret, the Management Board of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation announce that its honorary president Peter Wallenberg died in his sleep at his home on Monday at the age of 88," said a statement from the foundation.

"Peter Wallenberg has been active on the board since 1971 and has held the presidency from 1982 until recently," it added.

Wallenberg became heavily involved in the foundation after his older brother Marc Wallenberg killed himself in 1971.
“Marc and I were very close,” he told Sweden's Sydsvenska Dagbladet newspaper back in 2006.
“I didn’t see what was coming, despite sitting talking to him two hours before he took his life. It was a big misfortune and I felt a terrible emptiness.”
Reacting to the news of Peter Wallenberg's death, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf said in a written statement: "Peter Wallenberg has meant a lot to Swedish industry. He was also deeply involved in the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, which contributed to scientific development in Sweden. For the royal family, Peter was a close and loyal friend."
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that he had "great respect" for the financier, who he said had played a "big role in Swedish business for decades."
Peter Wallenberg was married three times and leaves behind two sons.


‘It is time for the world to learn of Wallenberg fate’

US President Barack Obama is due to visit Stockholm Synagogue on Wednesday to honour the memory of Raoul Wallenberg and relatives have called for his help in establishing the fate of the deceased Swedish diplomat.

'It is time for the world to learn of Wallenberg fate'

Dear President Obama,

Next year, the world will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary, and by January 2015, seventy years will have passed since Raoul Wallenberg disappeared into the Soviet Union, never to return.

Your official remarks last year and those of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Raoul Wallenberg’s birth, were unprecedented and deeply moving. Our family was also immensely honoured to accept the award of the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal on Raoul’s behalf.

The decision by President Reagan to grant Raoul Wallenberg honorary US citizenship in 1981 was the spark that allowed the story of his tireless efforts to save the Jews of Budapest in World War II to spread to new generations all around the world.

It is our sincere hope that the U.S. government and you personally will now once again lend much needed support to our continuing efforts to establish the full circumstances of Raoul Wallenberg’s fate.

It is time that the world finally learns what happened to him.

It would be tremendously helpful and important if U.S. diplomats would take up the question of Raoul’s disappearance more directly in formal discussions with Russian authorities. Such a step would have strong symbolic value, to show that the question of his fate continues to matter today, both as a fundamental human rights issue and as a matter of principle.

As recent research findings clearly indicate, this case can be solved and should be solved. True progress in the question is possible if scholars and researchers are finally empowered to do their job.

In particular, researchers need committed support in their efforts to obtain direct and uncensored access to Russian archival collections, especially those of the Soviet era intelligence and security services.

Russian authorities continue to stress that they are willing to assist inquiries in the Wallenberg case.

However, in reality, researchers have to wait six months or more for answers to a single request.

This is not conducive to an effective investigation and not consistent with the rules of transparency, scholarly standards and the provisions of Russian domestic law.

While it is important to do Raoul Wallenberg justice, there is also something bigger at stake: If the world can muster the will to solve the disappearance of a man who fought so hard for so many, then this would be an important gesture to underscore the value of the rights of human beings everywhere, be it in 1944 Hungary or, more recently, in Rwanda, Kosovo, Sudan and now in Syria.

It would be a fitting tribute to all those who risk their lives every day in the defence of civil liberties and to the millions of victims who, in spite of all efforts, could not be saved.

Yours sincerely,

Matilda von Dardel (wife of late Guy von Dardel, half-brother of Raoul)

Nina Lagergren (half-sister of Raoul)