Gemballa South African murder: man convicted

Gemballa South African murder: man convicted

By Tim Pollard

Motor Industry

03 November 2010 11:21

South African police have managed to arrest, try and convict a man for the brutal murder of Uwe Gemballa – all in the space of a day.

Thaibiso Mpshe, 28, from Pretoria, was convicted for the murder or Gemballa, whose body was found in October 2010. He had been shot in the back of the head.

Mpshe was tried at Johannesburg High Court last Friday 29 October, where he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. It's an extraordinary turnaround; he was only arrested that morning and by the evening he was starting his jail term.

Why was Gemballa murdered?

Gemballa founded the eponymous Porsche tuning specialist in 1981 and has been tuning and bodykitting Porsches ever since.

He travelled to South Africa in February 2010, purportedly to launch a South African franchise. However, the police investigation suggests that Gemballa might have been complicit in a money laundering scheme.

The South African media report that a Gemballa Cayenne packed with €1 million was smuggled into the country last autumn – but the money was missing when it arrived.

Detectives say privately that Gemballa was murdered as a result of the missing money and fear he had become embroiled in a wider organised crime scene.

The police investigation continues, suggesting that Mpshe wasn’t acting alone. But will they ever catch Mr Big who was behind Gemballa’s murder?

Is Gemballa still trading?

Yes. The tuner based just outside Stuttgart went into administration this summer, but has been revived by Andreas Schwarz and investor Steffen Korbach, who are planning more loony-tunes Porsches to build on the work done by Uwe.