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Spanish university accused of handing out fake degrees

A university in Madrid is currently being investigated for allegedly giving away diplomas to around 500 Italian nationals, despite them having limited Spanish language skills.

The court spokesman said that this latest enquiry was at a ‘very early stage’. King Juan Carlos University (URJC) already faces other claims for awarding fake master’s degrees to two Partido Popular (Popular Party) politicians.

According to the Spanish newspaper, Eldiario.es, law diplomas awarded by URJC would allow graduates to practise law anywhere in the European Union, including Italy.

Some Italian nationals, hoping to become members of the Bar, complete their law degrees in Spain to avoid the additional studies and expenses that are required to become lawyers in Italy. Italians are expected to complete a master’s degree, which costs approximately 18,000 euros.

Eldiario.es has also revealed that students took trips to Madrid in order to take exams, noting that the dates coincided with Real Madrid matches at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

Cristina Cifuentes, former president of Madrid’s regional government and former health minister Carmen Monton both resigned following allegations that they were awarded master’s degrees without attending classes, completing dissertations or taking exams.

Cifuentes dismissed these claims by displaying a document in a press conference to prove she achieved her degree lawfully, but subsequently admitting that she did not attend classes or take exams like other students due to busy schedules.

King Juan Carlos University has since closed its Institute of Public Law and suspended its former director, Enrique Álvarez Conde, over allegations of his role in the ‘Mastergate’ scandal, which happened back in April of this year.

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