Peru’s Ex-President Alan García Dies After Shooting Himself During Arrest
Former President of Peru Alan García died by self-inflicted gunshot wound on Wednesday as police arrived to arrest him in connection to a corruption scandal.
Police had arrived at his home in Lima early Wednesday morning when García, 69, locked himself in his bedroom on the pretext of calling his attorney. Moments later, a shot was heard and police found García with a gunshot wound to the head.
García was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead after attempts to resuscitate him. Current President Martin Vizcarra confirmed García’s death on Twitter.
García’s arrest came in the wake of a corruption investigation into the Brazilian construction giant Obredecht. The company admitted to paying over $800 million in bribes to officials across Latin America in exchange for public works and infrastructure contracts.
Investigators claim García took bribes from Obredecht during his second term in office, from 2006 to 2011, in exchange for a contract for building a new metro line in Lima. Authorities had ordered a 10-day detention for García on Wednesday, where he would be held until charges were formally presented.
García repeatedly denied the allegations, claiming there was no evidence against him and that the investigation was politically motivated. In a suicide note read at his funeral on Friday, García purportedly killed himself in order to avoid humiliation at the hands of political enemies.
The death of former President García has underscored the political crisis caused by the Obredecht scandal, not only in Peru, but throughout Latin America.
Former Peruvian President Pablo Kuczynski was arrested last week in connection with Obredecht bribes, while another former president, Alejandro Toledo, is fighting extradition from the US, also in connection with the scandal. Former President Ollanta Humala has also been implicated in the scandal, and is currently under house arrest.
Other Latin American leaders have been connected with the scandal, which originated with the Lava Jato (Car Wash) money-laundering inquiry in Brazil in 2014.
Most famously, ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil is currently serving 12 years in prison for corruption, as well as other politicians connected to the presidencies of Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and Rafael Correa of Ecuador.