With Cops Closing In, Former Peru President Kills Himself

Alan Garcia was facing arrest on corruption charges
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 17, 2019 8:52 AM CDT
Updated Apr 17, 2019 10:21 AM CDT
In this 2011 file photo, Peru's outgoing President Alan Garcia waves during a meeting with Peru's President-elect Ollanta Humala at the government palace in Lima, Peru.   (AP Photo/Marcelo Luna, File)
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(Newser) – Former Peruvian President Alan García is dead after shooting himself in the head as police came to detain him amid allegations he received illegal payment from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, reports the AP. García is said to have retreated to his bedroom and shot himself in the head as police arrived. The 69-year-old ex-president was rushed to a nearby hospital and suffered three cardiac arrests; he died after undergoing emergency surgery. The AP reports the stunning turn of events comes four months after García tried to seek asylum in Uruguay as prosecutors in Peru investigated the allegations against him. Odebrecht is at the center of Latin America's biggest corruption scandal after admitting in a 2016 plea agreement with the US Justice Department that it paid corrupt officials across Latin America nearly $800 million in exchange for major infrastructure contracts.

Per the BBC, Peru's last four ex-presidents—a list that includes García—have all been investigated for corruption, three in connection with Odebrecht. One of them, Alejandro Toledo, is said to be a fugitive in the US. As for García, he twice served as president, from 1985 to 1990 and then from 2006 to 2011; the bribery is alleged to have occurred during that second term. Prosecutors said they believed he received more than $100,000 from Odebrecht, disguised as a payment to speak at a conference in Brazil. García had professed his innocence and argued that he is the victim of false testimony by political enemies.

(Read more Alan Garcia stories.)

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