Peru's ex-President Alan García shoots himself before arrest

Peru's ex-President Alan García shoots himself before arrest
Peru's police officers stand guard at the emergency hospital Casimiro Ulloa where former Peruvian President Alan Garcia was taken after he shot himself in his neck, in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. Garcia shot himself before being detained by police. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

LIMA, Peru (AP) — A lawyer for former Peruvian President Alan García said Wednesday the leader shot himself before being detained by police amid allegations he received illegal payment from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

Lawyer Erasmo Reyna confirmed the shooting to local television outlet N.

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

Peru’s Health Ministry said García was sent to José Casimiro Ulloa Hospital at 6:45 a.m. local for a bullet wound to the head.

“At this moment, the patient has been in an operating room at said hospital since 7:10 a.m.,” the ministry said.

It said his condition was delicate.

García was under investigation for bribes allegedly paid during the construction of Lima’s metro during his 2006-2011 government. 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 U.S. Justice Department that it paid corrupt officials across Latin America nearly 00 million in exchange for major infrastructure contracts.

The scandal has led to the jailing of numerous politicians across the region, especially in Peru, where former President Pedro Pablo Kucyznski was detained just last week as part of a money laundering probe into his ties to the company.

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 82,000 in previously undisclosed payments from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht more than a decade ago. A hearing is scheduled to take place Wednesday to decide whether to increase his detention to three years.

García, 69, was a populist firebrand whose erratic first presidency in the 1980s was marked by hyperinflation, rampant corruption and the rise of the Shining Path guerrilla movement.

When he returned to power two decades later he ran a more conservative government, helping usher in a commodities-led investment boom in which Odebrecht played a major supporting role.