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Co-op's former CEO says bank's problems are 'a tragedy'

LONDON (Reuters) - Co-op Group's former Chief Executive Peter Marks has described the problems at its banking arm as "a tragedy" but said he wasn't the driving force behind its ill-fated acquisition of the Britannia Building Society in 2009.

"I can't take responsibility for something I wasn't in full control of, which was the bank. I wasn't driving the Britannia deal but I absolutely voted for it when it was proposed," Marks told a committee of British lawmakers on Tuesday.

Co-op said on Monday it would hand over its banking arm to creditors including U.S. hedge funds in order to seal a 1.5 billion pound ($2.4 billion) rescue of the country's seventh-biggest lender.

The Co-operative Bank's problems have been blamed in part on soured commercial real estate loans that it inherited from Britannia. ($1 = 0.6189 British pounds)

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham, editing by Sinead Cruise)

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