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ROME (Reuters) - The head of an Italian state-controlled company resigned on Tuesday after it was revealed that he sent an internal email quoting from an infamous speech by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
Claudio Anastasio resigned as chairman of 3-I, a company that manages software systems for Italy's welfare and statistics agencies, two government sources told Reuters.
Anastasio was appointed in November by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, a conservative with neo-fascist political roots whose coalition government is the most right-wing in Italy's postwar history.
Anastasio had emailed board members quotes from the 1925 speech that Mussolini gave to parliament to claim political responsibility for the murder of opposition lawmaker Giacomo Matteotti, daily La Repubblica reported.
"Well, I declare here before you, and before all the Italian government, that I assume, (I alone!), the (political! moral! historical!) responsibility of 3-I for everything that has happened," the manager wrote.
Anastasio slightly amended Mussolini's original text to include the reference to 3-I.
Many historians consider the speech from Mussolini as a turning point in Italy's slide towards dictatorship, which lasted until 1943 when he was deposed while the country was being invaded by Allied troops.
Meloni, 46, is the leader of Brothers of Italy, a group which traces its roots to the post-fascist Italian Social Movement. But in October she said that she "never felt any sympathy for fascism."
In that same month, she attracted controversy for giving a junior ministerial role to Galeazzo Bignami, a lawmaker from her party who once dressed up as a Nazi officer at a stag party with friends.
(Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri, additional reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, editing by Alvise Armellini and Christina Fincher)