Peru ex-leader Garcia dies after shooting himself before arrest

Garcia died in a hospital after shooting himself as police arrived at his house to arrest him amid corruption probe.

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

    Garcia, who had repeatedly denied wrongdoing, was 69.

    President Martin Vizcarra said on Twitter that he was "consternated" by Garcia's death, and sent his condolences to his family members. 

    Judicial orders obtained by The Associated Press said an order for Garcia's arrest had been issued.

    Garcia, a skilled orator who led Peru's once-powerful Apra party for decades, governed Peru as a nationalist from 1985 to 1990 before remaking himself as a free-market proponent and winning a new five-year term in 2006.

    Garcia was under investigation in connection with Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which triggered Latin America's biggest corruption scandal when it admitted publicly in 2016 that it won lucrative contracts in the region with bribes.

    In November, he sought refuge in the Uruguayan embassy and applied for asylum but he left the next month after it was denied.

    Corruption has plagued Peruvian politics for decades. The country's last five presidents have either been jailed on corruption charges or are currently under investigation for fraud. 

    Former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was detained last week as part of a money-laundering probe into his ties to the Odebrecht.

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    Congressional allies of Kuczynski said he was also taken Tuesday night to a local clinic with high blood pressure.

    A Peruvian judge last week ordered Kuczynski's detention for 10 days as he investigates some $782,000 in previously undisclosed payments from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht more than a decade ago. A hearing is scheduled to take place later on Wednesday to decide whether to increase his detention to three years.

    Opposition leader Keiko Fujimori is also embroiled in an ongoing corruption investigation related to undeclared financial contributions to her 2011 presidential campaign. 

    SOURCE: News agencies