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Former British bank boss pleads guilty to drug possession

Paul Flowers, the former boss of Britain’s Co-operative Bank, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to possession of drugs.

The 63-year-old was fined £400 ($679) and ordered to pay £125 in costs by the court in Leeds in northern England for possessing cocaine, methamphetamines and ketamine.

Flowers was forced to step down as head of the Co-op Bank in June 2013 after it lost £700 million in the first half of 2013 and a £1.5-billion hole was uncovered in its balance sheet.

He also resigned as deputy chairman of the Co-operative Group, to which the bank belongs. The group prides itself on its ethical values and is one of the largest businesses of its kind in the world.

As Flowers arrived to enter his plea, he called the crowd of waiting photographers and reporters “vultures” and said, “Don’t ask me any questions because I won’t give any answers.” He was first arrested over the drugs charges in November when allegations were published in a national newspaper.

In a video published on the newspaper’s website, Flowers could be seen in his car counting out 300 pounds and giving it to a friend to buy cocaine and crystal meth.

The paper also said he had sent a text to a friend in which he had boasted of “snorting some good stuff” on the day he was to appear before a parliamentary committee examining his performance at the bank. In the end, he was not called until a week later.

After the allegations were published, Flowers was suspended by the Methodist Church, for which he was a minister and which led him to be dubbed the Crystal Methodist. His membership in the Labour party was also suspended.

It emerged as well that he had quit in 2011 as a Labour councillor in the city of Bradford after pornography was found on his computer and that he stepped down as chairman of a drugs charity after allegations were made about his expenses.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 11:33:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/Former-British-bank-boss-pleads-guilty-to-drug-possession/article11639190.ece

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