Italy has approved a decree offering state guarantees for a 6.3-billion-euro ($7.1 billion) loan to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a person familiar with the matter said, paving the way for the largest crisis loan to a European automaker.

The person said Italy's audit court had signed off on the decree, in a final step of what had been a lengthy and contested process to get the loan approved. The court's approval follows an earlier endorsement by the economy ministry.

"The audit court authorized the decree," said a source, who is close to the matter and asked not to be named because of its sensitivity.

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Bailout Italian Style: Italy Throws FCA A $7.1 Billion Life Line

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