Former Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers arrested over drug allegations

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Former Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers has been arrested in connection with a drugs supply investigation, police have said.

The 63-year-old gay Methodist minister and former Labour councillor was detained in the Merseyside area on Thursday night and is being questioned at a police station in West Yorkshire.

His home was searched by officers on Tuesday. 

Separate from the police inquiry, it emerged this week Mr Flowers resigned from running drugs charity Lifeline in 2004 after allegedly lodging false expenses claims.

Following revelations about his private life, Terrence Higgins Trust announced Mr Flowers would no longer be on the board of trustees for the sexual health and HIV charity on Tuesday.

Yesterday, THT said Mr Flowers did not claim any expenses during his time as a trustee of the charity.

THT Acting Chief Executive Paul Ward said: “Following the most recent allegations against Paul Flowers, we have undertaken an internal review into the access he was given to our systems during his two years as a trustee.

“We can confirm that he claimed no expenses from our charity, sent no emails from his trustee email address and at no time accessed the internet through us. We have nothing further to add at this stage.”

Mr Flowers was the chairman of the Co-op Bank from 2010 until May this year when he stepped down as the bank hurtled to near financial collapse.

On Friday, it was reported Mr Flowers had resigned from the Co-op Group over concerns about his expenses.

The bank is seeking to recover money paid to its former chairman who has been told to hand back £31,000.

“When Paul Flowers relinquished his responsibilities in June, it was agreed, as per his contractual obligations, that his fees for the rest of his period of office would be paid,” the bank said in a statement.

“Following recent revelations, the board stopped all payments with immediate effect and no further payments will be made.”

The bank is also looking at emails and other evidence as part of an “internal fact-finding review”.

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