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MILAN, March 13 (Reuters) - Italy's top financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore said on Monday it had put its editor Roberto Napoletano on unpaid leave of absence after it emerged last week he was being investigated for allegedly issuing false corporate statements.
The decision followed a request by Napoletano himself to be put on leave, the newspaper said in a statement.
The editor's powers have been given to Guido Gentili on an interim basis, it said.
A search warrant seen by Reuters on Friday said prosecutors were investigating whether the newspaper's digital sales data had been artificially inflated.
In early October, journalists took a no-confidence vote against Napoletano after the group said its first-half loss had widened to 50 million euros ($53 million).
Il Sole 24 Ore, controlled by Italian employers association Confindustria, said its board on Monday had mandated its chief executive to take all measures necessary to protect its reputation and interests.
A source close to the matter said Napoletano's unpaid leave of absence would last six months. ($1 = 0.9383 euros) (Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; additional reporting by Luca Trogni; editing by Agnieszka Flak)