UPDATE 1-Itaú added as defendant in Chile's CorpBanca merger dispute

jueves 12 de junio de 2014 10:03 GYT

(Includes Itaú no comment in paragraph 3)

By Guillermo Parra-Bernal

SAO PAULO, June 12 (Reuters) - U.S. investment firm Cartica Management LLC said on Thursday it added Itaú Unibanco Holding SA as a defendant in its lawsuit to stop the Brazilian bank from winning control of Chilean bank CorpBanca SA.

Cartica alleged Itaú, CorpBanca and billionaire Alvaro Saieh, CorpBanca's controlling shareholder, violated U.S. anti-fraud and disclosure rules.

Itaú declined to comment on Cartica's move.

In a statement, Cartica said Saieh, Itaú and CorpBanca were "continuing to withhold material information, and failing to correct material misstatements," even after it sued, claiming multiple violations of U.S. securities laws.

Control of CorpBanca would not only give Itaú a foothold in retail banking in Chile, but provide a way to expand in Colombia, South America's fastest-growing economy last year. Itaú is contending with slowing economic growth in Brazil, where it trails state-run lender Banco do Brasil SA.

Cartica's move, a rare instance of investor activism in the region, aims to upset Latin America's largest banking combination since 2008. Cartica, which oversees about $2 billion in assets, owns about 3.2 percent of CorpBanca's common shares.

The firm amended terms of its lawsuit, Cartica v. CorpBanca, Saieh, et al., filed in April, to include Itaú and its Chilean unit as defendants. The case is pending in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.   Continuación...