Published: Wed, April 17, 2019

Peru ex-president Garcia shoots himself as police try to arrest him

Peru ex-president Garcia shoots himself as police try to arrest him

Alan Garcia, a former president of Peru suspected in a continent-wide corruption scandal, has died after shooting himself in the head on Wednesday (April 17) as police closed in, according to reports.

"This morning a dramatic accident took place: the president took the decision to shoot a bullet (in the head)", said his lawyer to journalists outside the hospital.

Garcia, a skilled orator who has led Peru's once-powerful Apra party for decades, governed Peru as a nationalist from 1985 to 1990 before remaking himself as a free-market proponent and winning a new five-year term in 2006.

Peru's Health Minister Zulema Tomas said Garcia was in "very serious and critical" condition.

Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia was hospitalized Wednesday after he shot himself before being detained by police amid allegations he received illegal payment from a Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

Mr Garcia was under investigation in connection with Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which triggered Latin America's biggest graft scandal when it admitted publicly in 2016 that it won lucrative contracts in the region with bribes.

One unnamed supporter described the case against Mr Garcia as "political persecution".

Garcia had been undergoing surgery after the incident at a clinic near his home in Lima, Radio Programas reported. Officers forced entry into the bedroom and found Garcia in a sitting position with a wound to the head.

He is now under investigation after allegedly accepting bribes from Brazilian construction titan Odebrecht in return for contracts during his most recent spell in office.

In November 2018, a judge banned Garcia from leaving the country prompting him to request asylum at the Uruguayan embassy - a request which was denied. Uruguay rejected the request.

Two other contracts reportedly involved the construction of a road linking Brazil and Peru during the government of former president Alejandro Toledo, between 2001 and 2006.

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