Uruguay Denies Asylum to Peru’s Ex-President Amid Graft Probe

(Bloomberg) -- Peru’s former leader Alan Garcia left the Uruguayan embassy in Lima after his request for diplomatic asylum was rejected, in a boost to prosecutors investigating the two-time president for graft.

Garcia’s request was turned down on legal and judicial grounds, Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez said Monday at a news conference in Montevideo.

“In Peru, the three pillars of the state function autonomously and freely, especially the judiciary, which is investigating possible economics crimes of Peru’s ex-president,” Vazquez said.

Garcia entered the Uruguayan ambassador’s residence on Nov. 17 just hours after a judge barred him from leaving Peru for 18 months while he’s investigated in connection with a rail contract awarded to Odebrecht during his second government. He denies any wrongdoing and accused the government of President Martin Vizcarra of plotting to jail him for political reasons.

Uruguay’s ambassador to Peru Carlos Barros said Garcia left the residence at about 8 a.m., minutes before the government’s decision was made public.

Garcia, who was president of Peru between 1985 and 1990, and again between 2006 and 2011, is the latest Peruvian leader to be ensnared in the bribery scandal centered on Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, which admitted to paying kickbacks to win contracts across the continent.

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