Peru's two-time ex-president shoots himself in the neck during bribery arrest

Former president of Peru Alan Garcia arrives at the prosecutor's office in Lima on Feb. 16 2017

Former president of Peru Alan Garcia arrives at the prosecutor's office in Lima on Feb. 16 2017

Alan Garcia, a former president of Peru suspected in a continent-wide corruption scandal, has died after shooting himself in the head on Wednesday (April 17) as police closed in, according to reports.

Mr Garcia, 69, underwent emergency surgery at the Casimiro Ulloa hospital and suffered three cardiac arrests, Health Minister Zulema Tomas said in broadcast comments.

President Martin Vizcarra said on Twitter that he was "consternated" by Garcia's death, and sent his condolences to his family members.

Former Peruvian president Alan Garcia has shot himself in the neck and is in critical condition, the state news agency Andina reported.

"Let's pray to God to give him strength", Erasmo Reyna, Mr Garcia's lawyer, told journalists at the hospital.

Investigations revealed that Garcia had been receiving proceeds from the said company which was supposed to be embarking in a metro line building project in Lima.

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A skilled orator who led Peru's once-powerful Apra party for decades, Garcia governed as a nationalist from 1985 to 1990 before remaking himself as a free-market proponent and winning another five-year term in 2006. He has denied the claims.

In November past year, Garcia had requested asylum at the Uruguayan embassy after a judge banned him from leaving the country for 18 months. The asylum request was denied, and a judge in Lima ordered his detention on Tuesday.

Odebrecht has admitted to paying $29 million in bribes to Peruvian officials over three administrations.

Authorities say Odebrecht officials shipped cash across the globe - from one shell bank account to the next - en route to politicians' pockets in a dozen countries, including Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, and Mozambique.

Garcia was banned from leaving the country while under investigation in the Odebrecht case, while President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was forced to resign in March 2018 after allegations he repeatedly lied about his connections to Odebrecht.

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