Alan Garcia, a Peruvian politician who was twice elected his country's president, died by suicide Wedensday as police prepared to arrest him.
Once praised as "Latin America's Kennedy," Garcia killed himself inside his bedroom after being arrested by Peruvian police for taking millions of dollars in bribes from Brazilian construction giant, Odebrecht S.A.
Interior Minister Carlos Morán explained that after police entered his home, Garcia said he wanted to call his lawyer and went to his bedroom. A gunshot was heard moments later. Officers barged into the bedroom where they found Garcia, seated, with a gunshot wound to his head.
Garcia was rushed to a hospital in Lima where he was resuscitated three times. Doctors were ultimately unable to save him, however.
Garcia, 69, was accused by Peruvian authorities of receiving kickbacks from Odebrecht during the building of an electric train line for the Lima metro while he was president for a second term. He has denied the claims. Garcia served as president from 1985 to 1990 and again from 2006 to 2011.
Odebrecht has admitted paying $30 million in bribes in Peru since 2004.
In November 2018, Garcia requested asylum at the Uruguayan Embassy in Lima after a judge banned him from leaving the country for 18 months. The Uruguayan government denied the request in December.
The "Odebrecht scandal" has ensnared high-ranking politicians in 12 Latin American countries and four Peruvian presidents. All four Peruvian presidents since 2001 (including Garcia) reportedly accepted millions of dollars in bribes from Odebrecht in exchange for lucrative construction contracts.
The massive extent of Odebrecht's corruption of leading Latin American politicians was revealed by "Operation Car Wash," a still ongoing investigation launched by the Federal Police of Brazil, Curitiba Branch. Operation Car Wash is the largest corruption scandal in the history of Latin America and the largest in history.
Odebrecht is accused of paying $800 million in bribes between 2001 and 2016 to get contracts from Latin American governments to build roads, bridges, dams and highways. The bribery operation was so large Odebrecht established a "bribery division" to manage it.
Operation Car Wash officials said Odebrecht transferred cash from one shell bank account to another en route to politicians' pockets in Antigua, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Venezuela, and Mozambique in Africa.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva is serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption and money laundering. Da Silva is also said to have made Odebrecht pay for his family's vacation home.
Odebrecht CEO Marcelo Odebrecht was arrested by Brazilian police in June 2015 in connection with their ongoing probe into bribes paid to Brazilian state-owned oil giant, Petrobras. In March 2016 , Odebrecht was sentenced to 19 years and 4 months in jail for paying over $30 million in bribes to executives of Petrobras in exchange for contracts and influence.
The three other Peruvian presidents facing criminal charges over corruption are Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (in office 2016-2018); Ollanta Humala (2011-2016) and Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006).
This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.