Peru’s former president killed himself shortly before police came to arrest him over a long-running bribery scandal

Peruvian former president, Alan García, in Lima in November 2018.

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Peruvian former president, Alan García, in Lima in November 2018.
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ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP/Getty Images

  • Warning: Contains details of suicide.
  • Alan García, the former president of Peru, is dead after shooting himself in the head as police came to arrest him over bribery allegations.
  • Martín Vizcarra, the current president of Peru, confirmed the death on social media.
  • Authorities said that when police arrived at his house to arrest García on Wednesday morning, the former president shut himself in his room and shot himself.
  • García was accused of receiving bribes from Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company, for a train construction project in Lima during his tenure. He repeatedly denied those claims.
  • Odebrecht pleaded guilty to paying officials across Latin America $788 million in exchange for lucrative infrastructure deals. The US Justice Department in 2016 called it the “largest foreign bribery case in history.”
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Peru’s former president shot himself dead inside his home as officers came to arrest him over bribery allegations on Wednesday morning.

Alan García was rushed to hospital, but was confirmed dead hours later. Martín Vizcarra, the current president of Peru, confirmed the death on social media and sent his condolences.

The 69-year-old was in critical condition in hospital in Lima, the Peruvian capital, the BBC reported before the death was confirmed. He shot himself in the head, according to multiple reports.

Vizcarra’s tweet said: “Dismayed by the passing of former president Alan García. I send my condolences to his family and loved ones.”

García served as president from 1985 to 1990, and again from 2006 to 2011.

Peruvian Interior Minister Carlos Moran told a news conference that shortly after police arrived at his Lima home to arrest him, García said he had to call his lawyer and shut himself in his room.

“He entered his room and closed the door behind him,” Moran said, according to Reuters. “Within a few minutes, a shot from a firearm was heard, and police forcibly entered the room and found Mr García sitting with a wound in his head.”

García was taken to hospital at 6:45 a.m. local time for a bullet wound to the head, and taken into emergency surgery at 7:10 a.m., Peru’s health ministry said in a statement carried by the Perú.21 newspaper.

Media outlets previously reported García as having shot himself in the neck.

Neurosurgeons, medical specialists, and neurologists all operated on him, Peruvian Health Minister Zulema Tomás told a Wednesday press conference. She added doctors tried resuscitating him three times, though she didn’t say whether they took place before or during surgery.

Staff at the José Casimiro Ulloa Hospital in Lima declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.

García and former US President George W. Bush.

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García and former US President George W. Bush.
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White House / Eric Draper via Wikimedia Commons

García was accused of taking bribes from Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company, for a train construction project in Lima.

Peruvian prosecutors suspect that Odebrecht gave García more than $100,000 that was disguised as a payment to speak at a conference in Brazil, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

García denied ever having received money from Odebrecht, and said he was being politically targeted, the AP said.

García arriving at the National Prosecution office in Lima to testify as part of the Odebrecht investigation in February 2017.

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García arriving at the National Prosecution office in Lima to testify as part of the Odebrecht investigation in February 2017.
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Guadalupe Pardo/File Photo/Reuters

In 2016, Odebrecht pleaded guilty to paying officials across Latin America $788 million in exchange for lucrative infrastructure deals.

The US Justice Department, which made the charges, called Odebrecht conduct the “largest foreign bribery case in history” at the time.

Pedro Pablo Kucyznski, another former Peruvian president, was detained last week as part of a money laundering investigation into his ties to Odebrecht.

Investigators found $782,000 in previously undisclosed payments from the Brazilian company more than a decade ago, the AP reported.

García was banned from leaving the country while the bribery investigation was ongoing. He requested asylum in the Uruguayan embassy in Lima last year, but Uruguay refused his request.