NEWS

Clerks held for mayor’s murder

Two municipal accounting clerks from Paggaio, near Kavala in northern Greece, were being questioned yesterday in connection with the murder of the local mayor whose body was found late on Wednesday riddled with bullets and stab wounds. Triantafyllos Koukidis, who had been missing since December 27, was found dead in the trunk of his car on a remote stretch of coast near Kavala, according to police who said the motive for his murder was probably related to an alleged embezzlement scam involving the victim and his suspected killers. Koukidis had been shot eight times with an automatic weapon, six in the head, and stabbed several times in the face with a sharp object, according to the regional police chief for eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Alexandros Bitzis, who spoke of «unprecedented brutality.» Bitzis said that the two clerks had admitted to their involvement in an embezzlement scam that they claimed had also involved the late mayor. During the suspects’ questioning, it emerged that the mayor had managed to raise the funds to replenish the municipal coffers he is alleged to have pilfered. The cashiers, who are believed to have embezzled the largest share of the missing funds, allegedly set up a meeting with the mayor on a remote beach near Kavala last Sunday to give him the title deeds and contracts for their properties to be used as collateral to obtain loans to pay off the remaining debt. The suspects are believed to have attacked the mayor at the meeting point and to have put his body into the trunk of his car. The automatic weapon used in the attack is thought to have been rented from a local resident whom police also detained for questioning. Koukidis was reported missing on Sunday, December 27, after informing his family that he was going to a business meeting near Kavala. There was no exact figure for the amount of cash embezzled in the alleged scam but it is believed to amount to several hundred thousand euros.