Former UK bank chief fined for drugs possession

Wednesday 07 May 2014 14.36
Paul Flowers stepped down as Co-Op Bank last June after reports of drug abuse
Paul Flowers stepped down as Co-Op Bank last June after reports of drug abuse

Paul Flowers, the former chairman of Britain's embattled Co-operative Bank, was fined today after admitting possession of cocaine and crystal meth.

The 63-year-old clergyman pleaded guilty at a magistrates court in northern England. He admitted two counts of possession of Class A drugs - considered the most harmful category - namely cocaine and methamphetamine.

He also admitted possession of ketamine, a drug in the lowest category, Class C.

Flowers was fined £400 and ordered to pay £125 in court costs.

He stepped down as Co-op Bank chairman in June last year after reported claims of illegal drug use and concerns about his expenses. 

He also resigned as a Methodist Church minister days before his arrest in November, following the exposure of his involvement in a drug deal.

The court heard how Flowers, who admitted the offences in police interviews, was filmed handing over £300 for the drugs in a car in the northern city of Leeds. 

Earlier today, former Treasury minister Lord Paul Myners laid out his plans for saving the wider Co-operative Group, but suggested traditionalists would spurn the necessary reforms. 

The ailing food-to-funerals mutual group last month reported annual losses of £2.5 billion and faced near-collapse last year, having to be rescued by bondholders. 

"I have myself witnessed repeated instances where there has been denial of responsibility, corrosive suspicion, deliberate delay and a practice of hiding behind 'values' in order to deflect or stifle criticism and protect self-interest," Myners said in his damning report.