Top German businessman found dead in S. Africa

12:47, October 04, 2010      

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A German businessman and former head of Porsche Conversions, Uwe Gemballa, has been found dead in South Africa, police said on Sunday.

Gemballa, well-known for specializing in supercar conversions, disappeared shortly after landing in South Africa in February.

South Africa police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo told the South African Pres Association (SAPA) on Sunday that after initially investigating a missing person's case, police have opened a murder docket.

The Sunday Times in Johannesburg reported on Sunday that Gembella's body was found in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, on Tuesday.

His hands were bound behind his back. He had been shot in the head execution-style Police were waiting for post-mortem results to confirm the body was indeed Gemballa's, Naidoo said.

"The tests will also help us establish how long he had been dead. We are now trying to establish the motive of the murder. We will only have more details on the matter once the post-mortem results are available."

He said no arrests had been made yet.

Gembella went missing after landing at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport on Feb. 8. German and South African police had been working together to help find him.He was owner and founder of Gemballa Porsche Conversions, which dealt in Porsches and other luxury sports cars across the globe.

"All we know is that he contacted his wife on Feb. 9 and he hasn't left South Africa. He is missing, basically," Naidoo said at the time.

He had been due to leave South Africa on Feb. 10.

According to the Sunday Times, a close friend, who acted as the family's representative in South Africa, said the family had suspected Gemballa had been held for ransom.

A day after arriving in South Africa, a flustered Gemballa called his wife, Christiane, saying he had been involved in a "little accident" and asked her to transfer a million euros to a bank account, the newspaper reported.

She suspected something was wrong because he spoke in English, a language they never spoke to each other.

Source: Xinhua


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