By on February 23, 2010

When I met Uwe Gemballa the first time, he looked like he could be the manager of the local strip club down the road: Shoulder long bleach blond hair, a flashy watch, a suit to match the watch, the shirt unbuttoned down to the chest. I then found out that he had brought a Porsche 911, that made upward of 750hp, to a friend of mine, to make it street legal. Gemballa had one of the hottest tuner shops in Germany. His mods to the Porsche Cayenne produced the fastest SUV in the world – at least that’s what Uwe told me. Last I heard from him was some two months ago. He wanted to import Gemballas to China, and could I help him? Then it became quiet. Now I know why.

Yesterday, Gemballa’s wife Christiane sent their lawyer to the court in Ludwigsburg, near Porsche’s Headquarters in Zuffenhausen, to declare GEMBALLA Automobiltechnik GmbH & Co. KG as insolvent, reports Das Autohaus. A spokesman of the court confirmed this today. Gemballa’s shop, it made around 25 units a year, is closed. Gemballa’s case is wide open.

Gemballa has not been heard from since February 8, 2010. He had flown from Dubai to Johannesburg, South Afrika. From Johannesburg, he called his wife. According to some records, he said he had an accident and needed a “larger sum of money.” According to Germany’s BILD-Zeitung, Gemballa had claimed he had been kidnapped, and Christl should transfer a million Euro immediately. Christiane declared Uwe as missing. She thinks he’s worth €10,000 – that’s the reward to whoever can give conclusive information of his whereabouts. Gemballa’s offices were searched by officials of the public prosecutor in Stuttgart, ostensibly to find traces of the man that had vanished.

According to information from Johannesburg, Uwe Gemballa was last seen with a fugitive from the Czech Republic. The billionaire had been sentenced to six years behind bars because of tax evasion. He also evaded the authorities and fled to South Africa. According to the not always reliable BILD, Gemballa was supposed to deliver him a tuned Ferrari, worth €2m. Supposedly, there was a down payment of €1m. “Were there complications with the deal?” surmised BILD. Or were there bigger problems? The market for hopped-up Porsches is not what it used to be.

“To find out whether he has been kidnapped, or whether he went into hiding on his own, this is the job of a detective of the BKA and one of the Police in Böblingen,” write the Stuttgarter Nachrichten today. The detectives have been dispatched to South Africa to work there with local police. The BKA (Bundeskriminalamt) is the German equivalent of the FBI.

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