Police in northern Greece were yesterday sifting through the paperwork handled by a municipal employee whose body was found hanging from a plane tree on Tuesday, in the hope of finding a motive for the apparent crime. A Thessaloniki coroner was unable yesterday to determine whether the death by strangulation of Cosmas Magoufaris, the 48-year-old town clerk for the municipality of Egnatia, was a case of suicide or murder. The body was found in a field near Rendina, while the victim’s car was parked a kilometer away. Four fingers from Magoufaris’s right hand had been severed, which police find highly suspicious. «We think it was a criminal act,» Thessaloniki security police chief Christos Radopoulos said yesterday. «It is hard to believe that somebody who wanted to kill himself would first have cut off his fingers.» Magoufaris, who lived in the village of Nymfopetra, some 50km (31 miles) east of Thessaloniki, had been responsible for approving immigrants’ residence permits, and police are examining his records in hope of finding a lead.