Ex-Peru president dies after shooting self in head

LIMA • Peru's former president Alan Garcia died in hospital in Lima yesterday, hours after shooting himself in the head to avoid arrest in connection with a bribery probe, authorities said. Mr Garcia was 69.

Interior Minister Carlos Moran said at a news conference before Mr Garcia died that the former president had told police he needed to call his attorney after they arrived at his home in Lima to arrest him.

Mr Moran said: "He entered his room and closed the door behind him.

"Within a few minutes, a shot from a firearm was heard, and police forcibly entered the room and found Mr Garcia sitting with a wound in his head."

The attempted arrest took place at 6.30am at Mr Garcia's home in the posh neighbourhood of Miraflores.

Members of his party announced his death to crowds gathered outside Hospital Casimiro Ulloa, where he suffered three cardiac arrests and underwent emergency surgery.

Mr Garcia, who was president from 1985-1990 and again from 2006-2011, is suspected of having taken bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht in return for large-scale public works contracts.

AVOIDED ARREST

He entered his room and closed the door behind him... Within a few minutes, a shot from a firearm was heard, and police forcibly entered the room and found Mr Garcia sitting with a wound in his head.

INTERIOR MINISTER CARLOS MORAN, on what happened after Mr Garcia (above) told police he needed to speak to his attorney.

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

In November, he sought refuge in the Uruguayan Embassy and applied for asylum, but left the next month after it was denied.

He was one of four Peruvian former presidents embroiled in various corruption scandals alongside Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, Ollanta Humala and Alejandro Toledo.

Odebrecht has admitted to paying US$29 million (S$39 million) in bribes to Peruvian officials over three administrations.

Some of those payments were allegedly made during Mr Garcia's second term in office to secure a contract to build the Lima metro.

Peruvian press reports also claim Mr Garcia received a US$100,000 payment from an illicit Odebrecht fund for giving a speech to Brazilian business leaders in Sao Paulo in May 2012.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2019, with the headline 'Ex-Peru president dies after shooting self in head'. Print Edition | Subscribe