Sunday 26 May 2019

Ex-president shoots himself in head as police arrive for bribery arrest


Alan García: The ex-president was under investigation over corruption. Photo: Reuters
Alan García: The ex-president was under investigation over corruption. Photo: Reuters

Samuel Osborne

The former president of Peru, Alan García, has died after shooting himself in the head as police came to arrest him as part of a corruption probe.

President Martinez Vizcarra said the former head of state, who was 69, died yesterday after emergency surgery at the Jose Casimiro Ulloa Hospital in Peru's capital.

Mr Garcia, who was under investigation in a bribery scandal, was admitted early yesterday with a bullet wound to the head, Peru's Health Ministry said. He had emergency surgery but later died from his injuries.

Prosecutors claimed Mr Garcia received more than $100,000 from construction firm Odebrecht, disguised as a payment to speak at a conference in Brazil.

Local TV reported Mr García went into a coma after undergoing emergency surgery and broadcast images of his son and supporters arriving at the hospital.

Earlier Erasmo Reyna, his lawyer, said Mr García's condition was "delicate".

"Right now he's being operated on. Let's pray to God to give him strength," Mr Reyna said.

Mr García led Peru's once-powerful Apra party for decades, and 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 office in 2006.

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

The company admitted in a 2016 plea agreement with the US Justice Department that it paid corrupt officials across Latin America nearly $800m (€708m) in exchange for infrastructure contracts.

The scandal has led to the jailing of numerous politicians, especially in Peru, where former president Pedro Pablo Kucyznski was detained last week as part of a money-laundering probe into his ties to the company.

Mr García had repeatedly denied wrongdoing. (© Independent News Service)

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