“If I had even imagined that there was a forged signature – on the document – it would not occur to me to display it or send it to journalists. I acted in good faith accepting as good a document that the Rector’s Secretariat had sent me and that I had not requested. The former president of the Community of Madrid between 2015 and 2018, Cristina Cifuentes, defended this Friday that she finished the master’s degree in Autonomous Law and that she presented her final work in person, although she does not remember if the court was made up of “two or three people.” «We meet in a room of an office. It was kind of informal, I I gave them the work and explained the general lines of it, but I did not have to defend him “, he declared to the court that judges the facts.
Cifuentes appeared as a defendant in the trial for the so-called ‘master case’ at the Provincial Court of Madrid. The also former president of the regional PP faces three years and three months in prison for a crime of falsifying an official document. The Prosecutor’s Office points out that he is the “inducer” of the falsification of the act of the Rey Juan Carlos University (URJC), which confirmed that he had finished and defended his master’s degree, which “never happened”, according to the indictment.
Cifuentes, according to the account of the facts, obtained this postgraduate degree in advantageous conditions between 2011 and 2012, when she was a government delegate in Madrid. When in March 2018 it was published that she obtained her title with falsified notes, the popular leader was already in charge of the autonomous government.
After uncovering the so-called ‘master’s case’, the regional president contacted María Teresa Feito, former adviser of the Ministry of Education and university official, and with whom she was director of the master’s degree, Enrique Álvarez Conde, who died in April 2019, to help him prove to the press that he had taken the courses normally. For this, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, records, papers and dates were falsified.
The result was a document that the Community of Madrid sent to the media to try to make Cifuentes pass as a regulated student and with the defense of her accredited master’s degree work «to avoid – according to the accusation letter – the dire political consequences they should face. “I have never ever told or asked anyone to falsify absolutely any document. I did not need it, I had my degree that certified that I had completed that master’s degree and the sealed personal academic certification that they had sent me. And I was unaware that the end-of-year projects had a record, “Cristina Cifuentes defended herself.
The «pressures» to Rosado
The Public Ministry considers Feito, for which it also asks for 39 months in prison, an indirect co-author of the crime. The third defendant, although initially there were a score of investigated among teachers and students, is Cecilia Rosado, a member of the court that allegedly examined Cifuentes, who faces 21 months in prison because she recognized the facts and collaborated in the investigation. Last Monday he ratified the falsification of the act due to the “pressure” from Álvarez Conde and Feito.
The latter, on the other hand, denied such pressures and insisted that he never ordered anything. He only asked, he affirmed, that the work that Cifuentes allegedly carried out and that his lawyer contributed to the court last Friday be sought without anyone waiting for him.
Precisely, Cifuentes’ defense presented several last-minute evidence in the preliminary questions of the trial to try to support his innocence. The court accepted them despite opposition from some of the parties. Specifically, the lawyer provided an academic certificate that certifies that he passed the subjects of the master he took in 2012 and the Final Master’s Project (TFM). He also delivered a pendrive containing a copy of the agenda as a government delegate in Madrid, of July 2, 2012, with a quote from the date he defended his work. The date is controversial because Rosado declared that he had set that day by order of Álvarez Conde, although he never checked if there was any court that day.
After Cifuentes’ statement, it was the turn of the testimony of the professors Clara Souto and Alicia López de los Mozos, whose signatures appear in the minutes as members of that court. Both, as witnesses, denied having evaluated the former president of Madrid.