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SIM card scandal claims head of Brazil phone group TIM

ROME (Reuters) - Luca Luciani, head of Brazil's second biggest wireless phone group TIM Participacoes , who has been embroiled in an investigation into irregular SIM cards, has resigned, the group's parent company Telecom Italia said on Saturday.

In a brief statement, Telecom Italia said Luciani had resigned from all management functions.

It said Telecom Italia chief financial officer Andrea Mangoni would be appointed as interim head of its Brazilian operations.

Luciani's departure had been widely expected after his name emerged last month following the conclusion of a five-year probe into the alleged fraudulent activation of about 37,000 SIM cards, some issued to deceased or non-existent individuals.

Shares in TIM Participacoes fell 7 percent on Thursday as rumors circulated of Luciani's impending departure.

(Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by John Stonestreet)