Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Peru's two-time ex-president shoots himself in the neck during bribery arrest

Peru's two-time ex-president shoots himself in the neck during bribery arrest

Former Peru president Alan Garcia died in hospital on Wednesday after shooting himself in the head at his home as police were about to arrest him in a graft investigation, a party official said.

"Let's pray to God to give him strength", Erasmo Reyna, Garcia's lawyer, told journalists at the hospital, as Garcia's supporters chanted slogans in support.

Garcia, who served as president from 1985 to 1990 and from 2006 to 2011, was under investigation for bribery in connection with a massive corruption scandal that has engulfed a number of former Latin American leaders.

Carlos Morán, the interior minister, said in an interview with CNN affiliate TV Peru that police arrived at Garcia's home at 6.30 execute an arrest warrant.

Odebrecht 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.

Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia gestures as he speaks upon his arrival at the military airport in Buenos Aires on September 30, 2010.

The San Mateo County Sheriff's office said at the time it was aware that Toledo was wanted by Peruvian officials, but added that "the existence of charges in Peru alone does not authorize the subject's arrest in the United States".

"He entered his room and closed the door behind him", Moran said. Uruguay rejected the request.

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

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 Peru, criminal suspects can be ordered to spend up to three years in jail before trial if prosecutors can show they have evidence that likely would lead to a conviction and the suspect would likely flee or try to interfere in the investigation.

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