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Prosecutor investigates controversial university degree of Spanish regional president

Ⓒ AFP/Archivos – JOSE JORDAN – | Cristina Cifuentes, on June 24, 2016 in Madrid

The Spanish prosecutor’s office announced Thursday that it opened proceedings to clarify whether there was a crime in obtaining a university master’s degree from a prominent conservative leader, the president of the Madrid region, Cristina Cifuentes.

The Madrilenian leader, belonging to the Popular Party (PP) of Mariano Rajoy, is in the eye of hurricane for the suspicion that the notes of a master that he studied at the Rey Juan Carlos public university would be false.

Cifuentes on Wednesday offered explanations before the Madrid regional parliament, and said that neither his curriculum nor his qualifications “have been distorted.”

However, he did not show the end-of-master project, whose absence generates many suspicions, and neither did he convince the left opposition, which is promoting a motion of censure against him.

His situation was complicated this Thursday when the public prosecutor’s office announced that it had opened proceedings as a result of a complaint from student associations, which asked to investigate if there was a crime of falsification in an official document.

The work of the prosecution will also include information gathered by the Rey Juan Carlos University in an internal investigation into the case, opened last month.

“Before the appearance of information that could be constitutive of crime, the University has decided to transfer them to the Public Prosecutor for investigation,” said King Juan Carlos in a statement.

The controversy arose two weeks ago, when the digital newspaper eldiario.es published that the president of Madrid, in office since 2015, would have obtained a master’s degree in “Regional Law” thanks to the falsification of the grades of two subjects, including her work of the end of the master’s degree, an accusation that she denies outright.

According to the version of eldiario.es, initially it would have been classified as “not presented” in both subjects, a grade that later became 7.5 each out of 10.

The controversy over Cifuentes takes place just over a year after the regional elections of May 2019, in which the left opposition (Socialist Party and Podemos) want to wrest power from the PP.

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