Peru's Ex-President Alan García Shoots Himself before Arrest

Former president of Peru Alan Garcia arrives at the prosecutor's office in Lima on Feb. 16 2017

Alan Garcia, a former president of Peru suspected in a continent-wide corruption scandal, has died after shooting himself in the head on Wednesday (April 17) as police closed in, according to reports.

Garcia went into a coma after undergoing emergency surgery, local TV channel America reported.

The ministry said Mr Garcia was still in an operating room and his condition was delicate.

"This morning a dramatic accident took place: the president took the decision to shoot a bullet (in the head)", said his lawyer to journalists outside the hospital.

Former president of Peru Alan Garcia arrives to the National Prosecution office to testify in Odebrecht case in Lima, Peru February 16, 2017.

Mr Garcia served two terms as president of Peru, the first from 1985 to 1990 and the second between 2006 and 2011. He had denied ever receiving money from Odebrecht, which is at the center of Latin America's biggest corruption scandal after admitting in a 2016 plea agreement with the US Justice Department that it paid corrupt officials across Latin America almost $800 million in exchange for major infrastructure contracts.

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In rejecting his claim, the South American nation's embassy said there was no evidence to support Garcia's contention that he was being targeted politically.

He has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. Doctors at the Jose Casimiro Ulloa Hospital in the capital city of Lima said they provided cardiac resuscitation three times while trying to save his life. "Within a few minutes, a shot from a firearm was heard, and police forcibly entered the room and found Mr. Garcia sitting with a wound in his head".

Peruvian presidential candidate Alan Garcia (C) greets supporters during a campaign rally in Catacaos, Piura, Peru May 30, 2006. The Uruguayan government denied the request in December. Prosecutors are now seeking to extend Kuczynski's detention until he can be brought to trial.

Authorities say Odebrecht officials shipped cash across the globe - from one shell bank account to the next - en route to politicians' pockets in a dozen countries, including Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, and Mozambique.

A fourth former president, Alejandro Toledo, is fighting extradition from California after a judge in Peru ordered him jailed for 18 months in connection with Odebrecht in 2017.

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