South East Wales

Royal Mint chief Chris Howard's £45,000 expenses claim

1000g gold bars Image copyright Royal Mint
Image caption Mr Howard works promoting The Royal Mint's bullion business

The Royal Mint's director of bullion claimed £45,000 in expenses last year for hotel stays, cocktails and a 50p packet of chewing gum.

The Sunday Times has reported a Freedom of Information request revealed Chris Howard spent £15,000 staying in "some of the world's most luxurious hotels".

It said Mr Howard also spent £8,700 entertaining business contacts and staff last year.

The Royal Mint said his job required him to meet customers across the world.

As well as claiming $14 for a cocktail in a Las Vegas bar, The Sunday Times said his bills revealed he also claimed for fast food meals, tissues costing 45p and a 50p packet of Wrigley's chewing gum.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Royal Mint has been based in Llantrisant since 1968

The Royal Mint said Mr Howard provided strategic leadership of its bullion business, focusing on long term global strategic growth worldwide.

It said its bullion activities had grown significantly under his leadership and profit for Royal Mint Bullion had grown from £1.5m in 2014 to £4.6m to the end of March 2017.

The statement continued: "Mr Howard's commercial activities on the organisation's behalf necessitate frequent meetings with customers and distribution partners across the world, in order to grow sales.

"Business travel in the UK and overseas forms a significant part of his working time, representing the organisation as the face of Royal Mint Bullion overseas."

The Royal Mint, which is based in Llantrisant, Rhondda Cynon Taff, is a limited company but is owned by the government.

Its bullion products range includes gold and silver coins and bars.

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