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Bini Smaghi Will Quit ECB Post by Year End, Berlusconi Says

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Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Lorenzo Bini Smaghi will quit his post on the Executive Board of the European Central Bank by year end, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said.

“I’m sure that Bini Smaghi will realize that he cannot be the casus belli of a relationship that is worsening between us and France and that he will quit by the end of the year, as it was agreed,” Berlusconi told reporters in Brussels today after discussing the issue with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a summit of European leaders.

Sarkozy backed Italy’s Mario Draghi to head the ECB with the understanding that Bini Smaghi would quit and make way for a French candidate for the central bank’s board. Berlusconi passed over Bini Smaghi this week as Draghi’s replacement at the Bank of Italy.

“What should I do, should I kill him?” Berlusconi said he told Sarkozy today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Vasarri in Milan at cvasarri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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