|Maureen Cathryn Harriet Falck|
11 July 1953|
Enskede, Stockholm, Sweden
|Died||Uncertain; disappeared on 18 November 1984, body found on 29 May 1985 at Norra Hammarbyhamnen, Stockholm, Sweden|
Maureen Cathryn Harriet "Cats" Falck (11 July 1953 – date of death uncertain between November 1984 and May 1985) was a Swedish television journalist who, together with her friend Lena Gräns, disappeared in Stockholm in 1984 while she was investigating a scandal comprising the smuggling of weapons from Sweden to communist states in Eastern Europe. The dead bodies of Falck and Gräns were later found at the bottom of the Hammarby Canal in Stockholm. The deaths remain unsolved but later reports claim that they were assassinated in a state-sponsored operation by agents from East Germany.
Cats Falck was born in Enskede in Stockholm, Sweden. Falck and her friend Lena Gräns were last observed by witnesses as they left the restaurant Öhrns Hörn ("Öhrn's Corner") at the crossing of Folkungagatan–Borgmästargatan at Södermalm in Stockholm, at approximately 21.30 CET on 18 November 1984. On 29 May 1985, their bodies were found in a car (a white Renault owned by Lena Gräns) on the bottom of the Hammarby Canal at Norra Hammarbyhamnen in southern Stockholm. The Swedish police, who had been working from several hypothetical theories, closed the case as an "accident". At the time of her disappearance, Falck, who was employed as a reporter for the Swedish public service television news programme Rapport, was investigating a major scandal comprising the Swedish company ASEA and smuggling of weapons to communist states in Eastern Europe. Prior to her disappearance, Falck had told her work-mates and her fiancé (the author Lasse Strömstedt) that she was about to reveal "something big".
In April 1997, the Swedish Security Service received an anonymous letter sent from Germany in which it was claimed that the former East German secret police Stasi had carried out the killings. In the letter, which was written in English, two retired Stasi officials and four other East German government officials were named, while the purported death squad was said to have consisted of three persons. The alleged motive behind the assassination was that Falck had received sensitive information about a secret weapons affair between the Swedish weapons manufacturer Bofors and East Germany. In the letter, Stasi was further blamed for the death of the Swedish weapons inspector Carl-Fredrik Algernon, the chief investigator of the Bofors scandal, in the Stockholm Metro in 1987. In June 1997 the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter wrote a series of articles based on the new information from the letter, which prompted the Swedish police to take a new look at the case. The case also received much attention in German media and prompted the German Federal Police to open an investigation.
In September 2003, a 53-year-old German citizen, named as "Jürgen G" in a press release from the German Prosecutor-General, was arrested in Berlin suspected of having been a member of a group that carried out a number of assassinations on orders from the East German government from 1976 to 1987. According to an article in the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung, the suspicions against the man also involved the murder of Cats Falck and Lena Gräns. According to the article, the alleged death squad had operated directly under the East German government and not under Stasi as it was claimed in the earlier letter. The group had entered Sweden on false passports via West Germany and Denmark and then sought contact with Falck in Stockholm. There they had met up at the restaurant where Falck and Gräns were allegedly poisoned, placed in their car and then dumped into the Hammarby Canal. On 15 December 2003 the man was released from custody due to lack of evidence. The German investigation was closed in 2006.
The Documentary department of the Swedish broadcast, Sveriges radio, and its reporter Christoph Andersson investigated the case deeply in 2004–2005. He got access to Cats Falcks research documents and found out what she actually had been investigating in the eighties – Export of isostatic presses to Eastern Germany and the Stasi controlled enterprise AHB Elektronik Import Export. The pressed were made by ASEA in Västerås and can be used in the production of nuclear bombs. The Export was legal, allowed by the Social democratic government, headed by Olof Palme. Directly responsible where the ministers Thage G Pettersson and Birgitta Dahl.
The name of the radio program was "Scoopet som försvann, the Scoop that vanished" Sveriges radio P1, Saturday nov. 6th 2005 2.,03 pm. See also the Magazine "Scoop" nr 2/2005, published by the Swedish branch of IRE, Investigative Reporters and Editors (fgj.se)
- Andersson, Bo G (1997-06-01). "Stasi mördade kvinnorna" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- Andersson, Bo G (1997-06-01). "Tv-reportern ville avslöja "något stort"" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- Andersson, Bo G (1997-06-05). "Cats Falckfallet tas upp igen efter tolv år" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- Andersson, Bo G (1997-06-04). "Tysk polis misstänker Stasi" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- Hall, Thomas (2003-09-25). "Svensk tv-reporter mördades av DDR" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- Svensson, Leif (2003-09-26). "Misstänkt mördare från DDR gripen" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter/Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- "Misstänkte DDR-mördaren släppt" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter/Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå. 2003-12-17. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- "Utredningen om mordet på Cats Falk läggs ner" (in Swedish). Sveriges Television - Tvärsnytt. 2006-04-09. Retrieved 2008-01-20.