A probe into "inappropriate behaviour" has been launched by the Co-operative Group executive team after the former Chair of the Co-operative Bank has been accused of purchasing illegal drugs.
The Mail on Sunday published a video of Mr Flowers handing over money to buy katamine, which was recorded by a friend. The Mail also published a series of text messages, purpoted to be from the former Chair and director of the Co-operative Group, which revealed references to other drugs.
A statement from the Group, said: "Given the serious and wide-ranging nature of recent allegations, the new executive management team has started a fact-finding process to look into any inappropriate behaviour at the Co-operative Group or the Co-operative Bank and to take action as necessary."
Paul Flowers, who resigned as Chair in June to take responsibility for the £1.5 billion capital shortfall in the Bank, issued an apology: "This year has been incredibly difficult, 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. I am sorry for this and I am seeking professional help and apologise to all I have hurt or failed by my actions."
A police investigation has been opened into the allegations, and Mr Flowers has also been suspended from his role as a methodist minister. A statement from the Methodist Church said: "We expect high standards of our ministers and we have procedures in place for when ministers fail to meet those standards.
"Paul is suspended from duties for a period of three weeks, pending investigations, and will not be available to carry out any ministerial work. We will also work with the police if they feel a crime has been committed."