Former Peruvian President Alan García died Wednesday after shooting himself in the head as police came to detain him in connection with a corruption probe, officials said. Current President Martin Vizcarra said the 69-year-old ex-head of state underwent emergency surgery at José Casimiro Ulloa Hospital in the capital of Lima.
Garcia was accused of receiving illegal payments from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. Judicial orders obtained by The Associated Press said an order for García’s arrest had been issued.
García was under investigation for bribes allegedly paid during the construction of Lima’s metro during his 2006-2011 government. He had denied ever receiving money from Odebrecht, which 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 nearly $800 million in exchange for major infrastructure contracts.
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.
Congressional allies of Kuczynski said he was also taken Tuesday night to a local clinic with high blood pressure.
A Peruvian judge last week ordered Kuczynski’s detention for 10 days as he investigates some $782,000 in previously undisclosed payments from Odebrecht more than a decade ago. A hearing is scheduled to take place Wednesday to decide whether to increase his detention to three years.
García, 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.