U.S. Markets open in 4 hrs 12 mins

Bank of England says to decide 'shortly' on Co-op probe

LONDON (Reuters) - The Bank of England said on Friday it would decide soon whether to undertake a formal probe into the Co-operative Bank (CPBB.L), and welcomed a separate inquiry announced by Britain's finance ministry.

British police have arrested the former chairman of the Co-operative Bank as part of an investigation into the supply of illegal drugs, adding to pressure on the bank as investors consider plugging a $2.4 billion capital shortfall.

"The timing of the (finance ministry) investigation must not prejudice any other criminal or regulatory proceedings," the BoE said in a statement.

"The Prudential Regulation Authority is already undertaking work to establish whether it should commence a formal enforcement investigation and expects to reach a conclusion shortly," it added.

The PRA is the division of the Bank of England which since April has been responsible for day-to-day regulation of banks to ensure they are well-run.

(Reporting by David Milliken; editing by William Schomberg)