Shoplifting scandal forces Madrid premier to resign

The head of the Madrid region resigned Wednesday after video emerged allegedly showing her being caught shoplifting. The revelation comes just weeks after she was accused of faking her master’s degree.

CCTV footage published by OK Diario Wednesday showed Cristina Cifuentes emptying her handbag in front of a supermarket security guard after being accused of taking two pots of anti-aging cream worth €40 ($ 50).

The 53-year-old politician from the ruling People’s Party (PP) said taking the cream was an “involuntarily error.” The incident took place in 2011 and Cifuentes was released after paying for the beauty products.

“I have made many mistakes, I will continue to make more but my whole life is being questioned with a certain intention,” she said during a hastily convened press conference on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Cifuentes said she was planning to resign next week but decided to move it forward following the latest revelation. The master’s degree scandal emerged last month when El Diario revealed numerous alleged irregularities in Cifuentes’ graduate degree in public law from King Juan Carlos University.

She told reporters that the publication of the shoplifting video was a personal attack. “It was an involuntary mistake and it’s being used to go beyond political issues, it’s personal,” she said. “I was already the target of blackmail two years ago for that video, but this time I tell you a red line has been crossed.”

OK Diario’s editor, Eduardo Inda, dismissed swirling suggestions that the footage was leaked by Cifuentes’s own party in an attempt to force her resignation and to hold on to power in the region.

“The person who gave us the video had nothing to do with either the PP or politics,” Inda said to Spanish TV programme Al Rojo Vivo.

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