Alan Garcia, the former president of Peru, shot himself before being arrested by police amid bribery allegations, his lawyer said.
A warrant for Mr Garcia’s arrest had been issued in relation to allegations the former leader had received an illegal payment from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
He was sent to Jose Casimiro Ulloa Hospital at 6.45 am local time for a bullet wound to the head, Peru’s Health Ministry said.
The ministry said Mr Garcia was still in an operating room and is in a critical condition.
Mr Garcia 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 US Justice Department that it paid corrupt officials across Latin America nearly $800 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 Mr Kuczynski said he was also taken Tuesday night to a local clinic with high blood pressure.
A Peruvian judge last week ordered Mr Kuczynski’s detention for 10 days as he investigates some $782,000 in previously undisclosed payments from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht more than a decade ago. A hearing is scheduled on Wednesday to decide whether to increase his detention to three years.
Mr Garcia, 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.