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Flowers faces drug charges

Flowers faces drug charges

Disgraced former Co-op Bank boss Paul Flowers has been charged with possession of drugs including cocaine and crystal meth.

The Methodist minister, 63, who has been dubbed the “Crystal Methodist”, stepped down as the Co-operative Bank’s chairman in June amid claims of illegal drug use and inappropriate expenses payments.

He was charged with two counts of possession of class A drugs – cocaine and methamphetamine – and one count of possession of class C drug ketamine.

A second man was also charged. Gavin Woroniuk, 33, of Leeds, faces four counts of offering to supply controlled drugs and one count of possession of criminal property. Both will appear at Leeds Magistrates Court on May 7.

Flowers was suspended by both the Methodist Church and the Labour Party following allegations he bought and used illegal drugs. It also emerged he quit as a Labour councillor in Bradford after porn was found on his computer, although at the time he claimed he was leaving due to pressure of work.

The Co-operative Bank confirmed last year it was seeking to recover contract payments totalling £31,000 made to Mr Flowers amid reports that he was also the subject of an inquiry into “lavish” expense claims at the Co-op when he resigned from the mutual’s group board in June.

It also emerged that Flowers left the Manchester-based drug charity Lifeline Project in 2004 after an investigation over claims for expenses there.

Flowers, of Bradford, was charged at a Leeds police station. He made no comment to reporters and photographers as he left, but on his arrival earlier he called the waiting media “vultures”.

He said: “There is a phrase for some people, they call them vultures, and I really do hope that somebody quotes me on that.”

When asked about media coverage of the case, his solicitor, Andrew Hollas, said: “He’s been charged with very serious offences but I think it’s been self-evident that 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.”

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