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|11th March 2010, 02:04||#1|
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Uwe Gemballa still missing whilst his company files for insolvency
South African police continue their investigation into the disappearance of Uwe Gemballa, founder of GEMBALLA Automobiletechnik GmbH, one of the best known Porsche tuners.
The story however gets more questionable as the days go on, allegations of tax evasion and financial mismanagement at Gemballa Automobiltechnik GmbH & Co led German authorities to raid Gemballa headquarters and seize all the vehicles in stock.
Then it was reported that Uwe Gemballa had opened a second company GEMBALLA Sports Cars GmbH & Co, with his 79-year-old mother as the sole stockholder on the day that he left for his trip to Dubai and South Africa. At the same time he also granted his wife power of attorney to register the existing company, Gemballa Automobiletechnik, for insolvency.
South African authorities are working with German police to investigate the likelihood of a kidnapping – especially since Gemballa is reported to have phoned his wife and asked her to wire 1 million Euros to a bank in South Africa.
Gemballa was apparently in South Africa to consider opening a dealership in Johannesburg, but questions over his company’s financial health have now increased speculation that Uwe’s ‘disappearance” might not have been quite so accidental.
German authorities have confirmed that two police officers have been dispatched to South Africa to assist local authorities with their investigations, but thus far there is no trace of Uwe Gemballa.
Uwe Gemballa still missing whilst his company files for insolvency | SkiddMark
|11th March 2010, 02:06||#2|
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The sordid affair surrounding the disappearance of German tuning guru Uwe Gemballa continues after his family withdrew the reward for information which could lead to tracing his whereabouts.
Gemballa, who is renowned for his outlandish embellishments and performance upgrades of Porsche and Ferrari products for the rich and famous, went missing after arriving at OR Tambo 8 February.
Initially Gemballa was rumoured to have been kidnapped.
His last known contact with his wife was a call made shortly after arriving in South Africa. Gemballa curiously detailed he had been in an accident and needed funds to be wired to a specific account immediately.
It was hardly a negligible amount either - Uwe wanted €1m to be transferred.
Due to South Africa’s high crime rate – and Gauteng’s notorious reputation for violent crime internationally – any notion of Gemballa being on the run from a financial malaise back at home was never tabled.
German authorities deployed a two-man investigative team to South Africa just after Gemballa’s disappearance in mid February.
A spokesperson at Gemballa Automobiltechnik GmbH & Co, Ekkehard Krebs, said the presence of German investigators at the company’s headquarters were simply a part of the missing persons investigation. Customers were assured work was continuing as usual.
Or on the run?
Then, two weeks ago, Gemballa's wife, who was suspiciously given power of attorney by Uwe before he left for South Africa, applied for provisional liquidation of Gemballa Automobiltechnik GmbH & Co at the Ludwigsburg court.
Even stranger, was Uwe updating Gemballa Automobiltechnik GmbH & Co's records with details of a new company he had opened - with his 79-year-old mother as sole stockholder...The new company is cryptically named Gemballa Sports Cars GmbH & Co.
The German aftermarket tuning industry – which sets the global standard in automotive modification, performance upgrades and design – is at a lost how one of their most famous sons could simply go underground with such expedience.
Germany media sources indicate the Bundesrepublik’s investigate team has now returned home from South Africa with no information about Gemballa’s whereabouts.
Domestically, German authorities are now amplifying the investigation to one of financial crime (instead of a simple missing persons hunt) surrounding the peculiar state of affairs leading up to Gemballa Automobiltechnik GmbH & Co’s liquidation.
The Czech connection
An interesting aside to Uwe’s disappearance is that Czech billionaire Radovan Krejcír was supposed to provide capital for a Gemballa franchise in South Africa.
The billionaire central European businessman avoided extradition to his native Czech Republic in 2005 for tax fraud (after being sentenced in absentia) after a Johannesburg High Court judgement.
Krejcír contends he never managed to meet Gemballa at OR Tambo and has no idea where the German national currently is. A clue to Gemballa’s current whereabouts might be found in Gemballa Automobiltechnik GmbH & Co’s global presence...
An Atlantic coast hideaway?
Germany's car industry, even if you are an aftermarket tuner, thrived on exports.
Predictably, Gemballa operated exports to some of the world’s most prosperous automotive markets. He had a presence via agents in North America, Asia, Australia and even one, bizarrely, in Angola.
How many Gemballa modified cars have you seen on the streets of Luanda? Exactly. If we were looking for Uwe, we’d be checking out the Luanda waterfront’s cafés.
Meanwhile, his 40 members staff back in Germany (not to mention numerous customers globally) face an uncertain future as the insolvency of Gemballa Automobiltechnik GmbH & Co becomes procedural.
Conversely, the actual content and purpose of Uwe's new company, Gemballa Sports Cars GmbH & Co, remains dreadfully uncertain. We can’t really see Uwe’s grandmother fashioning ECU remapping diagrams for the new Cayenne either...
Unsurprisingly, Uwe’s family has retracted the €10 000 reward for any information which might lead to the location of his whereabouts.
Is Gemballa boss in Luanda?: Wheels: News: General_News
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