March 6, 2018 / 10:41 AM / 4 months ago

CORRECTED-Co-operative Bank ex-chairman Flowers banned by British regulator

(Corrects to read “led to his suspension”, paragraph 7)

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - Paul Flowers, the disgraced former chairman of Britain’s Co-operative Bank, was banned from working in financial services by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Tuesday.

Flowers, who was chairman of the bank from 2010 to 2013, lacked the “fitness and propriety” required, the FCA said.

It said Flowers, a one-time local politician for Britain’s Labour Party and a former Methodist Church minister, had used his work email to send and receive sexually explicit messages and to discuss illegal drugs and had made inappropriate phone calls on his mobile phone.

Flowers, who was filmed buying and using drugs in 2013, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, ketamine and crystal methamphetamine and was fined 400 pounds ($554) and ordered to cover court costs in May 2014.

“Mr Flowers failed in his duty to lead by example and to meet the high standards of integrity and probity demanded by the role,” said Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement at the FCA.

The FCA also said Flowers demonstrated an unwillingness to comply with FCA and other legal, regulatory or professional standards, demonstrating a lack of integrity.

The Flowers scandal raised questions over why he was ever appointed given his lack of banking qualifications and led to his suspension from the Methodist Church.

Lawyers acting on his behalf could not be reached for immediate comment.

Separately, Britain’s Treasury said on Tuesday it had launched an independent review of the prudential supervision of the Cooperative Bank between 2008 and 2013.

Flowers stepped down in June 2013 amid mounting losses. After his departure, the bank brought in new management to address a 1.9 billion pound funding shortfall.

$1 = 0.7221 pounds Reporting by Emma Rumney, writing by Sinead Cruise, editing by Jason Neely

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