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What if Italy's locusts try seizing the gold reserves to spend them ...

Section: Daily Dispatches

... and find only a moth-eaten promissory note from the Bank for International Settlements or JPMorganChase & Co.?

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Matteo Salvini Talks Up Seizing Control of Italy's Gold Reserves

By Miles Johnson
Financial Times, London
Monday, February 11, 2019

ROME -- Matteo Salvini has raised the possibility of wresting control of Italy's sizeable gold reserves away from the country's central bank in the latest in a series of threats to the independence of the Bank of Italy by Rome's populist coalition.

"The gold is the property of the Italian people, not of anyone else," Mr Salvini, deputy prime minister and leader of the League party, said in comments to reporters today.

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The comments came after he called for the removal of the leadership of the Bank of Italy for failing to prevent the country's banking crisis, prompting Giovanni Tria, economy minister, to defend the independence of the central bank.

Italian media reports have suggested that the coalition government, formed of Mr Salvini's anti-migration League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, were considering using part of the central bank's gold to fund their spending plans.

Mr. Salvini said he had not studied the notion of selling Bank of Italy reserves to fund additional government spending in detail, but that "it may be an interesting idea."

Claudio Borghi, a Eurosceptic League member of parliament and close economic adviser of Mr Salvini, has proposed a law to ensure that the Italian state was recognised as the ultimate owner of Italy's gold reserves rather than the Bank of Italy.

"Nobody wants to sell the ingots, in fact, quite the opposite, we want to prevent others from having their hands on it," Mr. Borghi wrote on Twitter after Mr. Salvini's comments.

Beppe Grillo, the comedian and co-founder of Five Star, last September suggested that Italy could sell off gold to fund higher state spending.

"It would allow us to finally put an end to this annoying story about the fact that 'there is no money,'" Mr Grillo wrote then. "Why do citizens have to sell their necklaces and not the state?" ...

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