Gay former Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers charged with possession of cocaine and ketamine

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Former Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers has been charged with drug possession.

Mr Flowers was arrested in November last year following newspaper allegations he was involved in a drug deal.

He was suspended indefinitely by the Methodist Church as a minister.

Mr Flowers was the £132,000-a-year chairman of the Co-op Bank from 2010 until May last year when he stepped down as the bank’s financial woes became apparent. The bank lost £700 million in the first six months of 2013.

His appearance before the Treasury Select Committee in November was widely criticised.

Mr Flowers failed to identify the size of the Co-op’s balance sheet, he replied: “£3billion”, when the actual figure at the time was £47bn.

He also failed to answer questions about the amount of loans on its books.

Co-op Group chairman Len Wardle resigned as a result of the fallout.

The bank remains in a state of crisis. The Co-operative Group is poised to report at least £2bn in losses.

The Co-operative Bank confirmed last year it was seeking to recover contractual payments totalling £31,000 made to Mr Flowers amid reports that he was also the subject of an inquiry into “lavish” expenses claims during his time at the company.

Clare Stevens, from CPS Yorkshire and Humberside’s Complex Casework Unit, said she believed “there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Paul Flowers with possession of Class A and Class C drugs relating to an incident on 9 November 2013”.

Mr Flowers has been charged with possession of cocaine, methamphetamine and ketamine, the CPS said.

As he struggled to enter Stainbeck police station in Leeds he told the waiting media: “There is a phrase for some people, they call them vultures, and I really do hope that somebody quotes me on that, especially the BBC.

“The BBC have been really nice to me but the rest of you are vultures.”

His solicitor Andrew Hollas said that Mr Flowers would make a full statement following his appearance at Leeds Magistrates’ Court next month.

“He has been hounded for six months by certain elements of the press and they have included many allegations within their papers that have been completely without foundation,” Mr Hollas added.

Mr Flowers has been bailed and will appear before Leeds Magistrates Court on 7 May.

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