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Peru’s ex-president ‘shot himself’ before arrest

World News | Published:

Alan Garcia was arrested amid allegations he received illegal payment from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

Peru’s former president Alan Garcia shot himself before being detained by police, his lawyer has said.

Garcia was arrested amid allegations he received illegal payment from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

Lawyer Erasmo Reyna confirmed the shooting on Wednesday to reporters.

Judicial orders obtained by The Associated Press said an order for Garcia’s arrest had been issued.

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.

A spokesman from the hospital said his condition is delicate.

Peru’s police officers stand guard at the hospital where former president Alan Garcia was taken
Peru’s police officers stand guard at the hospital where former president Alan Garcia was taken (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

He had denied ever receiving money from Odebrecht, which is at the centre 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 US dollars (£613 million) in exchange for major infrastructure contracts.

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

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
Former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is also in hospital (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

A Peruvian judge last week ordered Kuczynski’s detention for 10 days as he investigates some 782,000 dollars (£600,000) in previously undisclosed payments from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht more than a decade ago. A hearing is scheduled to take place to decide whether to increase his detention to three years.

Garcia, 69, was a populist firebrand whose erratic first presidency in the 1980s was marked by hyperinflation, rampant corruption and the rise of the Shining Path guerrilla movement.

When he returned to power two decades later he ran a more conservative government, helping usher in a commodities-led investment boom in which Odebrecht played a major supporting role.

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