Millenium Author's Family Offers Cash Settlement

The five year long dispute over the inheritance of Swedish crime writer Stieg Larsson entered a new stage on Monday, when Larsson's father and brother offered his partner of 32 years a settlement of 2.8 million US dollars.

Larsson died prematurely at the age of 50 in 2004, a year before his Millennium trilogy was even published. The books, and later the films, have become a roaring success worldwide, and money has been pouring into the Larsson Estate.

But where these profits should go and who should manage the books' property rights has been a contentious issue all along.

The third and last book in the Millennium trilogy, the Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest, has just been translated into English and the film based on the second book was released earlier this autumn. The books have sold in more than 20 million copies in Europe alone, and have been translated to over 30 languages. Last year, Stieg Larsson was the second best selling author in the world.

But Larsson did not live to see this success. He died of a heart attack at the age of 50. At the time, he was a fairly unknown journalist in Stockholm, involved in work against extreme right-wing movements in Sweden.

Larsson had never written a will, so the fact that he was not married to his partner of 32 years, Eva Gabrielsson, nor had any children with her, meant that the whole estate transferred to Stieg Larsson's father and brother.

This started an acrimonious dispute between them and Eva Gabrielsson, who claimed that the father Erland and brother Joakim Larsson were not suited to handle the estate. "They weren't part of our lives" she said.

Five years have now passed and the parties have still not talked to each other, except the odd accusation being launched in the media. So on Monday, in an interview with the daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, Erland and Joakim Larsson came with an offer to try to end the dispute.

They say they are tired of being the bad guys of the saga and hope to find a way to talk to Gabrielsson about what to tell Hollywood agents interested in film contracts and how the money shall be divided - how much should go to work fighting right-wing extremism and to women's refuge centres.

And they have come with an offer - of 2.8 million US Dollars - to Eva Gabrielsson. "She was a part of Stiegs life. She should live comfortably off this," Joakim Larsson says, adding that there are no strings attached, but that "she has to call and accept the offer."

How much the Stieg Larsson estate is worth is not known, but according to Svenska Dagbladet's calculations, the royalties from the books alone amount to some 18 million US dollars.

Eva Gabrielsson says, however, that she hasn't heard anything about the offer apart from the newspaper report, adding that no official papers have yet been sent to her solicitors.

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