Garcia died in a hospital after shooting himself as police arrived at his house to arrest him amid corruption probe.
Peru’s former President Alan Garcia died in a hospital in Lima on Wednesday after shooting himself as police arrived at his house to arrest him in connection with a bribery probe, authorities said. Garcia, who had repeatedly denied wrongdoing, was 69. President Martin Vizcarra said on Twitter that he was “consternated” by Garcia’s death, and sent his condolences to his family members. Judicial orders obtained by The Associated Press said an order for Garcia’s arrest had been issued. Garcia, a skilled orator who 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. Garcia was under investigation in connection with Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which triggered Latin America’s biggest corruption scandal when it admitted publicly in 2016 that it won lucrative contracts in the region with bribes. In November, he sought refuge in the Uruguayan embassy and applied for asylum but he left the next month after it was denied.
Global corruption scandal
Garcia was accused of receiving kickbacks from one of Latin America’s largest construction firms — the Brazil-based company Odebrecht — during the building of an electric train for the Lima metro while he was president during his second term. He has denied the claims.
In his most recent tweet, posted on Tuesday, Garcia said there was “no shred of evidence” against him, accused Peruvian prosecutors of “SPECULATION,” and said he had “never sold out and that is proven.” In November last year, Garcia had requested asylum at the Uruguayan embassy after a judge banned him from leaving the country for 18 months. The Uruguayan government denied the request in December. Odebrecht is accused of doling out nearly $800 million in bribes between 2001 and 2016 to get contracts from governments to build roads, bridges, dams and highways. Authorities say Odebrecht officials shipped cash across the globe — from one shell bank account to the next — en route to politicians’ pockets in a dozen countries, including Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Mozambique. Some of the bribes filtered through the United States. The corruption scandal — one of the biggest in modern history — implicated several former Latin American presidents.