In February 1986, a shot was fired from point blank range in a busy Stockholm street. The prime minister of Sweden died less than an hour after the shot.
But despite 37 years of investigations, including one by the renowned crime writer Stieg Lärsson, no one has been charged with Olof Palme’s murder.
Sky Documentaries has released a four-part documentary series that explores this unsolved crime, sometimes referred to as “Europe’s JFK Shooting”, as well as the world of intrigue and spies that surround it.
Jan Stocklassa, a former diplomat with the Swedish Foreign Ministry who spent the past 10 years investigating Palme’s murder.
He was researching for a new book when he found a treasure trove of material compiled by Larsson. The author of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo had spent years quietly trying to find the murderer before his death in 2004.
Stocklassa told Sky News that the murder of Olof Pale had been in people’s thoughts for 37 years.
It’s always there. And it’s like a wound which starts to heal, but then gets torn again.
Palme, who was the leader of Sweden at the time, walked a tightrope as he straddled the USSR and the US.
Sweden’s strategic and geographical importance was a major concern for the West and America, who were keen to prevent USSR expansion.
Palme’s controversial plan was to keep Sweden neutral, non-aligned, and most importantly, out of NATO.
Palme’s assassination occurred at a time of great importance for Sweden, and could have changed the history of his country.
Stocklassa stated, “The political environment changed significantly and I don’t believe we realized it at the time”. “Sweden tried to create this third option between the Soviet Union, and the US. It also wanted to help all small countries to be able run their own destiny.
“And that bullet in the backside of Olof palme has changed this immediately.”
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Stocklassa was thrown into a shadowy world of intrigue during his investigations into the murder of Palme. He even met former spies. What was it like?
“Scary,” says he. “I went to Cyprus in order to meet with this Swedish spy who lives in Northern Cyprus, because he was trying to avoid extradition.”
Stocklassa claims he met the spy under a false name and did not know whom to trust.
He said that entering the world of spying was “a rush” to which you could become “addicted or drawn into”.
Stocklassa claims that after a decade’s worth of research the assassination is still unsolved. However, he believes he has developed Larsson’s work to develop a theory.
He says, “I don’t know who was the actual trigger puller. I just have a theory.”
“But you can also see what is really behind it. The South Africans are using a Swedish intermediary and Swedish right-wingers to help them and possibly as scapegoats.
“That is the theory Stieg Larsson believed in and I am a strong believer in it.” “I’m so convinced that I can’t help myself.”
Sky Documentaries and Now will broadcast the second episode of The Man who Played with Fire on Sunday, May 21, at 2pm. Catch up on episode one.