Ex-president of Peru tied to corruption scandal dies from self-inflicted gunshot

Former head of state allegedly took bribes from Odebrecht during building of Lima metro train
April 17, 2019 02:00PM

Alan Garcia (Credit: Getty Images)

Peru’s ex-President Alan García died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the head on Wednesday morning – hours after authorities arrived at his home to detain him for his alleged ties to the Odebrecht corruption scandal that’s taken down a number of Latin American leaders.

García, 69, was pronounced dead at 10:05 a.m., about three hours after arriving at a hospital in Lima, Peru, according to the Associated Press. García reportedly shut himself in a bedroom and shot himself after police got to his home early Wednesday.

The former president’s lawyer said that García was innocent but was distressed over the allegations. According to prosecutors, García received more than $100,000 from the Brazilian construction giant,

which was concealed as a speaker payment for a conference in Brazil. The ex-head of state said he was being targeted politically.

Garcia tweeted on Tuesday that there was “no shred of evidence” against him and accused prosecutors of “speculation.” Last year, he requested asylum at the Uruguayan embassy after he was banned from leaving Peru, but the Uruguayan government denied the request, according to CNN.

García led Peru as president from 1985 to 1990 and from 2006 to 2011.

Odebrecht, one of the largest construction companies in Latin America, was accused of spending nearly $800 million in bribes between 2001 and 2016 to score government contracts for roads, bridges, highways and dams. The corruption scandal has taken down a number of former leaders throughout Latin America.

Garcia was specifically accused of landing kickbacks for the building of an electric train for the Lima metro during his most recent term as president, CNN reported. [CNN] [AP]Katherine Kallergis