Former president of Peru commits suicide to avoid corruption arrest

Garcia told the officers that he had to call his attorney before locking himself in the bedroom.

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Image Credit: GEC

Under investigation for corruption allegations, former Peruvian President Alan Garcia fatally shot himself in the head as law enforcement officials arrived at his home to arrest him. The former president allegedly accepted bribes from Odebrecht, a global construction conglomerate based in Brazil, that pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court in 2016 for bribing politicians throughout several countries.

After serving as the 61st and 64th President of Peru, Garcia was ordered this week to be held in pre-trial detention for allegedly accepting bribes from Odebrecht while in office. Beginning as early as 2001, Odebrecht paid approximately $788 million in bribes to government officials, their representatives, and political parties in a number of countries in order to win business in those countries. The criminal conduct was directed by the highest levels of the company, with the bribes paid through a complex network of shell companies, off-book transactions, and off-shore bank accounts.

Last week, a judge ordered another former Peruvian president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, to jail before trial in connection to Odebrecht. Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo is currently fighting extradition from the United States after a Peruvian judge ordered him jailed in 2017.

On Wednesday, police arrived at Garcia’s house to arrest him. According to Interior Minister Carlos Morán, Garcia told the officers that he had to call his attorney before locking himself in the bedroom.

“He entered a room and closed the door behind him,” Morán told a news conference shortly before Garcia’s death was confirmed. “Within a few minutes, a shot from a firearm was heard and police forcibly entered and found Mr. Garcia sitting with a wound in his head.”

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Garcia reportedly survived for a few hours before dying of the self-inflicted wound.

According to prosecutors, Garcia received more than $100,000 from Odebrecht, disguised as a payment to speak at a conference in Brazil. Former Odebrecht executives are now cooperating with prosecutors as informants for the U.S. Justice Department as part of their plea deal.

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