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Co-Op Ex-Chairman Suspended as Church Minister After Drug Report

Paul Flowers, the former chairman of Co-Operative Bank Plc, has been suspended as a Methodist minister following drug allegations in a Sunday newspaper.

The Methodist Church of Britain said in a statement on its website today that Flowers, who was named chairman of the bank in March 2010 and was replaced in June this year, has been suspended from his duties for three weeks pending an investigation. The church will also work with the police if it is considered that a crime has been committed, it said.

The Mail on Sunday said Flowers was filmed in his car buying illegal drugs in Leeds, northern England, days after his appearance before Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee on Nov. 6 over the bank’s performance.

Flowers, 63, has apologized in a statement issued through the church.

“This year has been incredibly difficult, with a death in the family and the pressures of my role with the Co-Operative Bank,” Flowers said. “At the lowest point in this terrible period, I did things that were stupid and wrong. I am sorry for this and I am seeking professional help, and apologize to all I have hurt or failed by my actions.”

Patrick Tooher, a spokesman for the bank, declined to comment today on “allegations which are of a personal nature and being made against a former board member.”

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