Since arriving in Johannesburg, South Africa on February 8, Uwe Gemballa, one of the world's most famous Porsche tuners, has been missing. Given the region's notoriety for criminal activity, police initially treated the case as a kidnapping. But with no clues to trace, they've recently classified it as a missing persons case.
Authorities now believe the German millionaire is hiding somewhere in Angola to avoid creditors. He operates a franchise in the area.
"We have no information that Gemballa was kidnapped and we are treating the investigation as that of a missing person," said police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo.
According to multiple reports, when Gemballa landed in South Africa he called his wife to tell her he had been involved in an accident. He also requested she wire him 1 million euro ($1.3 million) from one of his accounts.
Shortly after his disappearance, his tuning company was put into provisional liquidation.
His African business trip was focused on meeting Czech billionaire Radovan Krejcir. The pair was to set up a franchise in the region.
Krejcir has denied any meeting with Gemballa and insists he has no knowledge of his whereabouts.
Germany has sent multiple detectives to Africa to search for Gemballa. Business is reportedly continuing as planned at Gemballa's headquarters, but the firm's future viability is certainly questionable.
Gemballa has made a reputation of creating some of the most powerful and creative Porsche-based creations. Recently his engineers have dabbled in Ferrari tuning.
Source: Times Live