Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia shot himself in the head and died Wednesday as officers waited to arrest him in a massive graft probe that has put the country’s most prominent politicians behind bars and provoked a reckoning over corruption, report agencies.
Authorities broke through a door at Garcia’s mansion in a leafy, upscale neighborhood of the Peruvian capital after hearing gunfire. The 69- year-old former head of state was rushed to a hospital, where a team of doctors performed emergency surgery but could not save him.
‘The president, upset over this situation, knowing his absolute innocence ... had this terrible accident,’ said his lawyer, Erasmo Reyna.
It was a shocking end for a man who twice ruled Peru — once in the 1980s and then again more than two decades later. In more recent years, he became ensnared in Latin America’s biggest corruption scandal, a sweeping investigation of politicians’ dealings with the Brazilian construction giant known as Odebrecht.
No country outside Brazil has gone as far in prosecuting politicians tied to Odebrecht, which admitted in a 2016 plea agreement that it paid nearly $800 million throughout Latin America in exchange for lucrative public-works contracts.
In Peru, politicians have described the accusations as a political witch hunt. Prosecutors and anticorruption advocates insist the arrests show the South American nation is finally holding leaders accountable.