Uwe Gemballa, the founder of tuning company Gemballa, has gone missing while on a business trip in Johannesburg, South Africa. The German police is sending officers to South Africa for investigation.
54-year-old Gemballa was reported missing to German police on February 9th, but only recently has the police actually classified him as a “missing person.” According to German authorities, he arrived at Johannesburg airport February 8th at 11:30 PM, from another business trip in Dubai. An unknown man met and talked with Gemballa while he was at the airport. This man is wanted by the South African Police Service for questioning.
Some sources suggest that this man might be Radovan Krejcir, a Czech fugitive who has been sentenced to six and a half years of jail in the Czech Republic, but is in South Africa and an extradition request has been denied by a South African court. His crimes include murder plots, tax fraud, counterfeiting, extortion and abduction.
Initially it was thought that he may have been killed, as Johannesburg is well known as a crime-riddled city. However, there are many other theories now appearing. One is that he is escaping the German government. Rumours suggested that the Gemballa factory was closed by the government and the cars impounded. Gemballa officials are denying this theory though, and a German police representative has said they have never even heard of these rumours.
Another theory is that he has financial difficulties and is hiding for these reasons. It has been discovered that his wife filed for insolvency on behalf of the Gemballa tuning company. This means the company is unable to pay its debts. However, the company is still operating despite this. Another thing he did, which I don’t understand as I’m no businessman, is create another company: GEMBALLA Sports Cars GmbH & Co. The sole shareholder is his 79-year-old mother, Edith Maria Margaretha Gemballa-Jauss, and she has deposited 1,000 Euros into the company. Its records were last updated on February 5th, the day he left for Dubai, which is the place he was before heading to South Africas. Multiple sources suggest that the trip to Dubai was to meet with his financial backers. Once he arrived in Johannesburg, he called his wife asking for money, and then disappeared.
The last theory we’ve found is that he has been kidnapped. German publication Bild is reporting in an “exclusive” that the call Gemballa made for money had to do with a 1 million Euro ransom. They report that the Interpol is investigating this theory.
We hope that Gemballa will be fine, and that he can return to the safety of his home soon.
Source: Bild and Radio Prague via Jalopnik and CarsUK via Jalopnik | Image: ducktail964 / CC-BY-2.0