LIMA (Reuters) – Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia entered the Uruguayan embassy and applied for asylum, hours after being banned from leaving the country while under investigation for corruption, the Peruvian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.
Garcia entered the embassy and home of the Uruguayan ambassador in a residential Lima neighbourhood on Saturday night and requested asylum, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.
Garcia “has requested asylum from that country, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention on Diplomatic Asylum of 1954, of which Peru and Uruguay are parties,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The request “should be evaluated by the government of Uruguay,” the foreign ministry added.
Garcia’s request came hours after a judge ruled on Saturday to prohibit the ex-president from leaving the country for 18 months while under investigation for bribes allegedly received during the construction of an electric train in Lima by Brazilian company Odebrecht.
Garcia, who mostly resides in Spain, arrived in Lima on Thursday to testify in the case before a prosecutor, who postponed the hearing and requested the former president be barred from leaving.
The prosecutor in the case, Jose Perez, also accused Garcia of receiving $100,000 for taking part in a conference in Brazil, and said the money likely came from an Odebrecht fund, used to pay out bribes in several Latin American countries.
The sweeping Odebrecht corruption scandal has implicated dozens of high-ranking officials across Latin America, who have been accused of taking bribe money in exchange for public works contracts.
Garcia held Peru’s presidency twice, from 1985-1990 and again from 2006-2011.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Scott Squires; Editing by Chris Reese)