Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia is fighting his court-imposed travel ban amid a corruption investigation by petitioning for asylum in Uruguay, the foreign ministry said Sunday.
The Uruguayan foreign ministry said in a statement, Sunday, “(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.”
According to the 20-century agreement, the member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) are permitted to grant asylum to candidates they deem worthy with the exception of those already indicted or tried for common crimes before ordinary courts.
The ministry added that the request “should be evaluated by the government of Uruguay” and there was no deadline for their decision. Uruguayan officials were not immediately available for comment, Reuters reports.
Garcia’s asylum 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.
During Saturday’s hearing, Garcia told the court he was willing to cooperate and would answer all accusations against him. Garcia held Peru’s presidency twice, from 1985-1990 and again from 2006-2011.
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.