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Former Peru President Shoots Himself Before Arrest

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Peru’s former President Alan Garcia died on Wednesday, after shooting himself as police arrived at his house to arrest him in connection with a bribery probe

The former president of Peru Alan García arrives at the national prosecution office to testify in the Odebrecht case in Lima on 16 February 2017. Reuters

Garcia, who had repeatedly denied wrongdoing, died in a Lima hospital. He was 69.

Garcia, who led Peru’s once-powerful Apra party for decades, governed Peru from 1985 to 1990 and winning a new five-year term in 2006.

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The former president was under investigation in connection with Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which triggered Latin America’s biggest corruption scandal.

In November 2018, Garcia ought refuge in the Uruguayan embassy and applied for asylum but it was denied.

Peru politics has been plagued with corruption for decades. The country’s last five presidents have either been jailed on corruption charges or are currently under investigation.

Former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was detained last week, also with alleged ties to Odebrecht. Opposition leader Keiko Fujimori, daughter of Peru’s former Alberto Fujimori, is also embroiled in an ongoing investigation related to undeclared financial contributions to her 2011 presidential campaign. Fujimori’s arrest last Octoner came a week after her 80-year-old father’s presidential pardon for crimes against humanity was revoked by a top court.

The elder Fujimori had fled to Japan. Following his extradition to Peru in 2007, Alberto Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison for commanding death squads that massacred civilians in a counterinsurgency campaign during his right-wing government. He was later found guilty of corruption.

Garcia,Kuczynski, Fujimori and former president Alejandro Toledo are all alleged to have taken undeclared campaign contributions in exchange for promises to offer lucrative contracts to Odebrecht.

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President Martin Vizcarra, who took office in March 2018, said on Twitter that he was “consternated” by Garcia’s death, and sent his condolences to his family members.

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