Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Peru's ex-President Alan García shoots himself before arrest

Peru's ex-President Alan García shoots himself before arrest

Peru's ex-president Alan Garcia shot himself as police arrived to arrest him in a bribery probe, according to a law enforcement source quoted by Reuters news agency.

Members of his party announced his death to crowds gathered outside of hospital Casimiro Ulloa, where he suffered three cardiac arrests and underwent emergency surgery.

Peru's health ministry said the bullet passed straight through Garcia's head. It broadcast images of Garcia's son and supporters arriving at the hospital.

Peru's Health Ministry said Garcia was sent to Jose Casimiro Ulloa Hospital at 6.45am local time for a bullet wound to the head.

Local television program "Hablemos Claro" reported that when police arrived at García's residence to arrest him, the ex-president shut himself in his room to take his life.

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.

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In rejecting his claim, the South American nation's embassy said there was no evidence to support Garcia's contention that he was being targeted politically.

He had denied ever receiving money from Odebrecht, which is at the center of Latin America's biggest corruption scandal after admitting in a 2016 plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Department that it paid corrupt officials across Latin America almost $800 million in exchange for major infrastructure contracts. He asked for a moment to call his lawyer, entering a bedroom of the leafy mansion in Miraflores and closing the door behind him. He remained there for a little more than two weeks before having his request denied. Prosecutors are now seeking to extend Kuczynski's detention until he can be brought to trial.

"In Peru, the three branches of government function freely and autonomously, especially in the case of judicial power", Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez said.

A fourth former president, Alejandro Toledo, is fighting extradition from California after a judge in Peru ordered him jailed for 18 months in connection with Odebrecht in 2017.

He had denied wrongdoing involving Odebrecht, and blamed his legal troubles on political persecution.

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