The former chairman of a British bank, who is also a Methodist minister, apologized for doing “things that were stupid and wrong” Monday after a newspaper alleged he had bought and used illegal drugs, including crystal meth.
Paul Flowers was filmed discussing the purchase of cocaine and crystal meth, according to the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
The 63-year-old was chairman of the Co-operative Bank for three years until June when new management was brought in to deal with a a $2.4 billion shortfall.
The bank, originally created as a mutual trust, is known for its ethical investment policies.
The newspaper said the recording was taken earlier this month, and days after Flowers was questioned by lawmakers at the Westminster parliament about the bank’s financial predicament.
In a statement, Flowers said he had experienced a difficult year with a death in the family and the "pressures of my role with the Co-operative Bank."
“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."
Flowers who has been a Methodist minister for 40 years, formerly chaired a drugs charity, Lifeline, whose motto is: “Telling the Truth About Drugs.”
The church has suspended him from duties for three weeks pending an investigation.
Flowers was also suspended by the Labour Party in his hometown of Bradford, in northern England, where he was a city lawmaker for over a decade.
"In the light of recent reports, we have today suspended Paul Flowers as a member of the Labour Party for bringing the party into disrepute," a party spokesman said.
First published November 18 2013, 8:59 AM