In 2011, current Madrid regional premier Cristina Cifuentes was escorted by a security guard to the back room of a supermarket in the Spanish capital, on suspicion that she had stolen cosmetic products from the establishment. At the time she was the deputy speaker of the Madrid regional assembly.
The incident was made public today by Spanish website OKDiario, which published images from a security camera that show the Popular Party (PP) politician emptying out a bag in the presence of the guard. She is then seen to be showing him several products before handing over a sum of money.
The supermarket considered the matter closed
The revelations have ramped up the pressure yet further on Cifuentes, who has been embroiled in recent weeks in a separate scandal involving irregularities surrounding a master’s degree she obtained from King Juan Carlos University (URJC) in Madrid in 2012. She is alleged to have never attended classes nor taken exams, and there are doubts over whether she ever produced her final thesis, or defended it before a panel. She claims that she did everything that was asked of her to obtain the qualification and has placed the blame for any irregularities squarely with the URJC.
The recording of the alleged shoplifting incident was made on May 4, 2011. The Eroski supermarket where it took place is very close to the Madrid regional assembly, where Cifuentes was deputy speaker at the time.
Sources close to Cifuentes have admitted that she is the person in the video, and police sources have said that the shoplifting incident did happen, but that there is no official police record.
Cifuentes took two bottles of anti-ageing cream
According to the information published byOKDiario, Cifuentes took two bottles of anti-ageing cream from the supermarket but was spotted by an employee, who reported the incident to security.
The security guards, who did not recognize the politician, asked her to return the items, but she apparently claimed that they belonged to her and that she was carrying them in her bag when she entered the store, according to the information published in the news story.
It was at that moment when the security guard called the police, after Cifuentes refused to pay for the creams. The police arrived at the supermarket, but did not arrest the PP politician given that she eventually paid the €40 cost of the creams, according to police sources consulted by EL PAÍS.
The supermarket considered the matter closed, while the local police station, in the Madrid neighborhood of Puente de Vallecas, never requested the security camera footage, according to the same police sources. They added that there is no official police record of what happened that day in the supermarket.
English version by Simon Hunter.