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Former Co-op Bank head Flowers filmed agreeing to buy drugs: newspaper

A Union Jack is reflected in a window of a branch of the Co-operative Bank in the City of London November 4, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Winning
A Union Jack is reflected in a window of a branch of the Co-operative Bank in the City of London November 4, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

LONDON (Reuters) - The former chairman of Britain's troubled Co-operative Bank has been filmed arranging to buy cocaine, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported.

Paul Flowers, a Methodist minister, 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.

The Mail on Sunday said a video filmed by an acquaintance of Flowers and given to the newspaper showed Flowers counting out 300 pounds in a car and handing it to another person after agreeing to pay for cocaine.

The newspaper said the video was filmed on November 9, three days after he appeared in parliament to give evidence to a panel of lawmakers on the collapse of a deal for the Co-op Bank to buy hundreds of branches from the state-backed Lloyds bank.

The Methodist Church issued a statement on Sunday that said Flowers had been suspended from his duties for three weeks pending investigations, and included a statement from Flowers.

"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, without referring directly to the video footage or the Mail on Sunday story.

"At the lowest point in this terrible period, I did things that were stupid and wrong," he said. "I am sorry for this, and I am seeking professional help, and apologize to all I have hurt or failed by my actions."

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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