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Peru’s former President shoots himself as police attempt to arrest him

Peru’s former President, Alan Garcia shot himself in the neck after police arrived at his home in the capital Lima to arrest him in connection to an investigation into the largest public scam in Latin America.

Garcia was immediately taken to the Casimiro Ulloa hospital where he was said to be undertaking emergency surgery and in a critical condition. 

His lawyer, Erasmo Reyna, described his position as “delicate” and told journalists,

“Right now he’s being operated on. Let’s pray to God to give him strength”.

Garcia was the leader of Peru’s Apra party which had governed the nation from 1985 to 1990. The party was nationalist in its orientation although after 1990 Garcia reinvented himself as a free-market proponent and won a five-year term in 2006.

The scandal he is implicated in relates to the Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht, which publicly admitted in 2016 that it had bribed officials to gain lucrative contracts. They gained nearly $800m (£613m) in exchange for major infrastructure contracts.

A number of politicians across Latin America have been linked to this scandal including former president Pedro Pablo Kucyznski who was detained last week as part of a money-laundering probe into his ties to the company. He served as President from 2016 to 2018 and Prime Minister from 2005 to 2006.

Garcia has consistently denied any wrong-doing. 

Last year he asked Uruguay for political asylum after he was banned from leaving the country to keep him from fleeing or obstructing the investigation. This was rejected by Uruguay.

Read more here and here.