Alan Garcia, a former president of Peru — one who was being investigated for corruption — has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He committed suicide on Wednesday, after police moved in to arrest him on the charges.
Police officers arrived at Garcia’s home at 6.30 a.m. to execute the arrest warrant. The former head of state then asked to call his attorney. Upon entering his room to place the call, police heard a gunshot, CNN is reporting. After forcing entry into the bedroom, officers found Garcia in a sitting position with a wound to the head, the report continued.
Garcia, 69, was rushed to the hospital in the capital of Lima in critical condition. He died from his injuries shortly after, per CNN. News of his death was confirmed by current President Martin Vizcarra, who expressed his condolences via Twitter.
“Devastated by the death of former President Alan Garcia, I send my condolences to his family and loved ones,” Vizcarra wrote in Spanish, CNN detailed.
Garcia, who served as president from 1985 to 1990 and from 2006 to 2011, was being investigated on accusations of receiving bribes in connection with a massive corruption scandal — one of world’s largest — that has engulfed several Latin American countries. The scandal surrounds many prominent figures and political leaders.
— Agencia Andina (@Agencia_Andina) April 17, 2019
Garcia had been accused of receiving campaign money from one of Latin America’s largest construction firms — the Brazil-based company Odebrecht. The funds were connected to the building of an electric train for the Lima metro during his second term as president. He had denied the claims, according to the report.
As recently as Tuesday, Garcia had taken to Twitter to claim his innocence, contending that he had never “sold out” — and that authorities had produced no incriminating evidence against him beyond speculation.
“As no document mentions me and there is no shred of evidence against me, they are left with nothing but SPECULATION and forged intermediaries. I never sold out and that has been proven,” he wrote on April 16.
Como en ningún documento se me menciona y ningún indicio ni evidencia me alcanza sólo les queda la ESPECULACIÓN o inventar intermediarios. Jamás me vendí y está probado.
— Alan García (@AlanGarciaPeru) April 16, 2019
In November of 2018, Garcia requested asylum at the Uruguayan embassy following a judge’s order that banned him from leaving the country for 18 months. The Uruguayan government denied the request a month later, CNN noted.
The company from which Garcia allegedly accepted campaign money is accused of giving out approximately $800 million in bribes between 2001 and 2016. These bribes were purportedly delivered in order to secure government construction contracts for roads, bridges, dams, and highways in a conspiracy that ranged from the Americas to Africa.
Other prominent figures who have faced investigations involving Odebrecht include former Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who resigned after lawmakers voted to impeach him; Ecuador’s former Vice President Jorge Glas, who has been sentenced to six years in prison; and former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is serving a 12-year sentence in prison in a case partly connected to the construction firm.
Brazil's Odebrecht corruption scandal explained https://t.co/o0xYZin34r
— BBC Business (@BBCBusiness) April 17, 2019
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.