Alan GarcÃa, two times a president of Peru, fatally shot himself Wednesday, 17 April as police arrived at his home to arrest him as part of a probe into bribes paid by Brazilian construction giant, Odebrecht.
Alan GarcÃa after winning his second presidency in 2006 (José Cruz/AgÃªncia Brasil/CC BY 3.0 br)
Confronted by police in the early morning, GarcÃa told them he needed to call his attorney, said Peru’s Interior Minister, Carlos Moran.
"He entered his room and closed the door behind him. Within a few minutes, a shot from a firearm was heard, and police forcibly entered the room and found Mr. GarcÃa sitting with a wound in his head," Moran said, reports Reuters.
He was taken to hospital in Lima at 6.50am where, in the ensuing hours, he suffered three respiratory arrests. Surgery to save his life did not succeed, reports TeleSur.
GarcÃa was one of nine people a Peruvian judge had earlier ordered detained in the ongoing investigation into bribes paid by Odebrecht, the company at the centre of Latin America’s biggest corruption probe, known as "Lava Jato".
He had repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Last year GarcÃa, who served as president from 1985 to 1990 and again from 2006 to 2011, requested political asylum in Uruguay after he was barred from leaving Peru. His request was denied.
GarcÃa would have been the third former Peruvian president to have been jailed in the Odebrecht probe.
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, in office 2016-2018, was detained pending trial last week, notes BBC News, while Ollanta Humala, in office 2011-2016, spent nine months in pre-trial detention, said Reuters.
A fourth former president, Alejandro Toledo, is fighting extradition from California, notes Reuters. All deny wrongdoing.
Brazil’s vast Lava Jato ("Car Wash") corruption probe has led to the imprisonment of dozens of officials and executives in Brazil, including senior politicians.
It revealed that construction companies formed a cartel in 2003 to overcharge Petrobras for building contracts, and then paid some of the illicit cash to Petrobras executives and politicians from several parties.