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Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia dies after shooting himself

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-04-18 07:55

LIMA -- Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia died on Wednesday in a hospital in Lima, Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra confirmed on Twitter.

Vizcarra said that he was "consternated" by Garcia's death, and sent his condolences to his family and loved ones.

Garcia, 69, shot himself in the head on Wednesday to avoid a preliminary arrest ordered by the justice authorities for his alleged links to the corruption scandal of Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, his lawyer confirmed earlier to local media.

The attempted suicide occurred when police officers tried to apprehend him to complete a preliminary detention of 10 days in his house, where he locked himself in a room and shot himself.

The former president asked to make a phone call to his attorney, then entered a bedroom and closed the door behind him. A few minutes later a gunshot was heard. Police forced entry into the room, and found him in a seated position with a wound on his head, said Interior Minister Carlos Moran.

Garcia was taken to the Casimiro Ulloa Hospital where he underwent surgery. Thirty doctors took part in the surgery, but unfortunately he died.

Garcia served as president of Peru from 1985 to 1990 and again from 2006 to 2011.

The preliminary detention order against Garcia, issued by Jose Domingo Perez, who is in charge of the corruption probe, also applies to Garcia's chief of staff Luis Nava and former vice president of Petroperu, Miguel Atala.

Domingo Perez is investigating the alleged payment of 24 million U.S. dollars in bribes to the former president's officials for the construction of Line 1 of Lima's Metro during Garcia's second term.

On Tuesday, Garcia made statements to local media in the context of the investigation against him, saying that he was not born to steal, and that the accusation was "a way of criminalizing a politician."

Jorge Barata, Odebrecht's representative in Lima, confessed his company contributed bribes to several Peruvian politicians after a plea deal was reached between Peruvian prosecutors and Odebrecht in 2018.

In addition to Garcia, the Peruvian authorities are investigating former presidents Alejandro Toledo, Ollanta Humala and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski for alleged money laundering involving illicit funds from Odebrecht.

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