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

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

He was sent to Jose Casimiro Ulloa Hospital at 6:45 am local time for a bullet wound to the head, Peru's Health Ministry said.

Former Peru president Alan Garcia has shot himself moments before police arrived to arrest him over corruption.

On Wednesday, Garcia's lawyer told reporters that the tragedy "could have been avoided".

Garcia, who is now in dire condition in hospital, is not the only president of Peru to have had his regime marred by mass corruption.

Lawyer Erasmo Reyna confirmed the shooting to local television outlet N. Local television program "Hablemos Claro" reported that when police arrived to Garcia's residence to arrest him, the ex-president shut himself in his room and attempted to take his life.

In November, a Peruvian court barred Garcia from leaving the country amid an investigation into allegations that he received illegal payments from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

He is in a critical condition in hospital in Lima and is undergoing emergency surgery, reports local TV channel America.

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Garcia, who served two terms (1985 to 1990 and from 2006 to 2011) is now under investigation by authorities over bribery claims involving an explosive corruption scandal.

Garcia has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

Corruption cases have reached the highest levels in Peru politics, most notably involving officials and Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant that has admitted to spreading some $800 million U.S. in bribes to officials across Latin America, including $29 million in Peru.

Odebrecht took responsibility for bribes paid in relation to several contracts, including the construction of Lima's Metro while Garcia was in office. The Uruguayan government denied the request in December.

Two other contracts reportedly involved the construction of a road linking Brazil and Peru during the government of former president Alejandro Toledo, between 2001 and 2006. "He's had three cardiac arrests", said Tomas.

The current leader of the opposition, Keiko Fujimori - who is the daughter of Alberto Fujimori - is also in pre-trial detention on charges of taking $1.2 million in bribes from Odebretch.

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