UK police search ex-Co-op bank chairman’s home over drugs claims

UK police search ex-Co-op bank chairman’s home over drugs claims

LONDON - British police have searched the home of former Co-operative bank chairman Paul Flowers after a national newspaper published a video apparently showing the Methodist preacher arranging to buy crack cocaine and crystal meth.

Police said they searched the home in Bradford in northern England after the Mail on Sunday newspaper published a video showing Flowers counting out 300 pounds (S$602) in a car and handing it to another person after agreeing to pay for illegal drugs. "Officers executed a search warrant ... as part of their investigation into alleged drugs offences arising from a national Sunday newspaper story," West Yorkshire police said in a statement.

Flowers, 63, has not directly addressed allegations of drug use although he said in a statement on Sunday that he has had a difficult year and apologised for doing sometimes stupid things. He could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday.

The claims of drug use by Flowers have added to questions over why regulars approved his appointment at the Co-op bank when he had limited banking experience. Before a parliamentary hearing he failed to distinguish between bank capital and capitalisation.

Len Wardle, chairman of the mutually owned Co-op Group that includes the bank and various retail businesses, quit on Tuesday with immediate effect for his part in appointing Flowers.

Flowers left the Co-op in June after three years as chairman when the bank brought in new management to oversee a restructuring and deal with a 1.5 billion-pound capital shortfall.

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