Investigators have started the search for the famed Porsche tuner, Uwe Gemballa, who has reportedly gone missing after embarking on a trip to South Africa.
On the 8th of February the German exotics car tuner flew via Dubai to Johannesburg. From a hotel in this South African city, that is known to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world, he called his wife in Leonberg with a concerning message; he asked for help and his wife should wire 1 million euro ransom money to a certain bank account. No details on whether anybody has been in touch with Uwe, or the kidnappers, have been released. It’s also unclear if Uwe was lured to South Africa in an attempt to kidnap him or if he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The tuning company has been going through financial difficulty and in May 2010 the company filed for bankruptcy and closed it’s doors. German and South African investigators have visited the work place of Uwe only to to open an internal revenue investigation. There is spectulation that Gemballa’s tax filing regime is not quite up to German standards. Ultimately, the enforcers of law are adding two and two together, and stating that he is missing in an attempt to evade tax. If this is true, customers will have to show full ownership disclosure and documentation of their vehicles in order to reclaim them.
51-year-old Uwe Gemballa boarded a plane bound for Johannesburg on February 8. Since then, nobody has heard from Gemballa or has been able to make contact with him. According to the report, investigators in Germany are “in close contact with the South African police”. Gemballa’s name has for over 25 years been synonymous with performance cars.
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