ECB's Visco says law already exists in Italy on central bank gold holdings

FILE PHOTO: Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco speaks during a meeting in Rome, Italy, October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - European Central Bank member Ignazio Visco said on Wednesday Italy already had a law covering the country’s gold reserves after a ruling coalition party put forward a bill to establish that the precious metal belonged to the state.

The League earlier this week said it had drafted a law which made clear the ownership of the gold and could potentially allow the government to sell the country’s reserves through a change to the constitution.

Asked if he thought a new law on gold reserves was necessary in Italy, Visco replied: “There is already a law”.

The ECB says the EU’s governing treaties stipulate that eurozone member states’ gold reserves are held and managed exclusively by the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), which is governed by the ECB.

Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Editing by Crispian Balmer