PABLO Casado, the new leader of Spain’s People’s Party (PP) is at the centre of a scandal over a master’s degree he claimed to have gained 10 years ago without attending classes or sitting any exams.

He said in April that course director Enrique Álvarez Conde had validated him in 18 of 22 subjects for his master’s in autonomous and regional law.

Casado said he passed the remainder by writing four essays.

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However, Madrid’s King Juan Carlos University say they don’t have any documentation to certify that Casado actually wrote the essays or any record that they were submitted for evaluation.

The National:

It follows a judge’s order to course director Professor Enrique Álvarez Conde and another teacher to present the essays immediately.

Both are being investigated over a separate allegation of forgery over a degree awarded to Cristina Cifuentes, former president of the Madrid regional government.

She quit her post in April after irregularities surrounding how she obtained her master’s degree.

Three other students, all with links to the PP, also obtained their degrees at the same university and are being investigated by the judge.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Catalan government has said the freedom of deposed and exiled president Carles Puigdemont shows the “nonsense” of keeping his colleagues in jail over last year’s independence bid.

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Puigdemont will be met by government members on Saturday when he returns to his house in Waterloo, Belgium, from Germany, after the Spanish Supreme Court withdrew extradition orders against him and six other exiled pro-independence figures, including Clara Ponsati in Scotland.

The National:

Elsa Artadi said: “The fact that they all can travel freely around Europe shows the nonsense of what their government colleagues and civil society leaders are going through.”

The leader of the Socialist party in Catalonia, Miquel Iceta, said yesterday that Puigdemont “wants to keep tensions as high as possible”. He accused Puigdemont’s democratic party PDeCAT, of “hardening its stance on independence”.