Saturday, October 31, 2020

Peru’s former president, Alan García kills himself ahead of arrest over bribery allegations

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Former Peruvian President Alan García has died after shooting himself as police arrived at his home to arrest him over bribery allegations.

Mr. García was rushed to hospital in the capital, Lima. His death was confirmed by current President Martín Vizcarra. A crowd of supporters gathered outside the hospital and were held back by a line of police.

Mr. García was accused of taking bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht – claims he denied.

What happened at his home?

Officers had been sent to arrest him in connection with the allegations.

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Interior Minister Carlos Morán told reporters that when police arrived, Mr. García asked to make a phone call and went into a room and closed the door.

Minutes later, a shot rang out, Mr. Morán said. Police forced the door open and found Mr. García sitting on a chair with a bullet wound to his head.

Mr. García underwent emergency surgery in the Casimiro Ulloa hospital in Lima.

Health Minister Zulema Tomás said Mr. García had to be resuscitated three times after suffering cardiac arrests before finally succumbing to his injuries.

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In a post on Twitter, Mr. Vizcarra said he was “shocked” by the former president’s death and sent his condolences to his family.

What was Mr. García accused of?

Investigators say he took bribes from Odebrecht during his second term in office, linked to a metro line building project in the capital.

Odebrecht has admitted paying almost $30m (£23m) in bribes in Peru since 2004.

But Mr. García maintained he was the victim of political persecution, writing in a tweet on Tuesday that there was “no clue or evidence” against him.

In November last year, he unsuccessfully applied for political asylum in Uruguay.

What is the Odebrecht scandal?

Odebrecht is a Brazilian construction giant behind major infrastructure projects around the world, including venues for the 2016 Olympics and 2014 World Cup in its home country.

But under the glare of anti-corruption investigators, the company admitted paying bribes in more than half of the countries in Latin America, as well as in Angola and Mozambique in Africa.

Investigators say Odebrecht bribed officials or electoral candidates in exchange for lucrative building contracts.

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