LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s former president Alan Garcia died in a hospital in Lima on Wednesday, hours after taking pictures himself within the head to keep away from arrest in reference to a bribery probe, authorities mentioned on Wednesday.
Garcia was 69.
A talented orator elected president twice, first as a firebrand leftist after which as a champion of overseas funding and free commerce, Garcia had been dogged by allegations of corruption in recent times that he repeatedly denied.
Garcia had been considered one of 9 individuals a choose had ordered to be arrested on Wednesday for alleged involvement in bribes distributed by Odebrecht, a Brazilian building firm that triggered Latin America’s greatest graft scandal when it admitted in 2016 that it had paid kickbacks to politicians throughout the area to safe profitable contracts.
Members of his social gathering introduced his dying to crowds gathered exterior of hospital Casimiro Ulloa, the place he suffered three cardiac arrests and underwent emergency surgical procedure.
President Martin Vizcarra mentioned on Twitter that he was “consternated” by Garcia’s dying, and despatched his condolences to his members of the family.
Garcia ruled as a nationalist from 1985 to 1990 earlier than remaking himself as a free-market proponent and profitable one other five-year time period in 2006.
He had denied wrongdoing involving Odebrecht, and blamed his authorized troubles on political persecution.
“Others may promote out, not me,” Garcia mentioned in broadcast feedback on Tuesday, repeating a phrase he has used often as his political foes grew to become ensnared within the Odebrecht investigation.
Inside Minister Carlos Moran mentioned at a information convention earlier than Garcia died that the previous president had instructed police he wanted to name his lawyer after they arrived at his residence in Lima to arrest him.
“He entered his room and closed the door behind him,” Moran mentioned. “Inside a couple of minutes, a shot from a firearm was heard, and police forcibly entered the room and located Mr. Garcia sitting with a wound in his head.”
Final 12 months, Garcia requested Uruguay for political asylum after he was banned from leaving the nation to maintain him from fleeing or obstructing the investigation. Uruguay rejected the request.
Garcia would have been the third former president in Peru to have been jailed within the Odebrecht case. Ollanta Humala spent 9 months in pre-trial detention in 2017-2018 and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was arrested with out costs final week.
A fourth former president, Alejandro Toledo, is combating extradition from California after a choose in Peru ordered him jailed for 18 months in reference to Odebrecht in 2017.
All have denied wrongdoing in reference to Odebrecht.
In Peru, legal suspects might be ordered to spend as much as three years in jail earlier than trial if prosecutors can present they’ve proof that probably would result in a conviction and the suspect would probably flee or attempt to intervene within the investigation.
Reporting By Mitra Taj and Marco Aquino; Modifying by Invoice Trott and Marguerita Choy