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Australia Post reveals full cost of Cartier watches gifted to staff members was $19,950

Australia Post has revealed the cost of the watches at the centre of a gift scandal surrounding members of its former board was $19,950 — significantly more than the $12,000 first claimed.

Chief executive Christine Holgate told a Senate inquiry earlier this month that $12,000 was spent on luxury watches for four employees in 2018 after they struck a deal with banks to provide services in post offices.

The Cartier watches cost $7000, $4750, $4400 and $3800.

Ms Holgate — who was wearing a Bulgari watch believed to be worth about $48,000 at the time — defended the purchase, saying Australia Post, a government-owned business, was a ‘commercial organisation’.

She denied using taxpayers’ money to buy the gifts.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison ordered Ms Holgate to stand aside over the incident, saying he was ‘appalled’ and calling for an investigation into the matter.

Australia Post Chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo said the Board was ‘acutely aware of community and shareholder feedback over the last 24 hours’ in relation to the gifts.

He said Australia Post would co-operate fully with the inquiry.

“The Board noted media commentary regarding the then Board’s involvement in the purchase of Cartier watches,” he said.

“The Board was advised at today’s meeting that a check of Board papers and minutes from this period show the then-Board was not asked to approve or note the purchase of those Cartier watches.”

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