A Florida banking company swindled shareholders of a thrift it bought by concealing a problem that has since sent its price plummeting, according to a lawsuit.

Former shareholders of Bankers Savings Bank of Coral Gables sued the buyer, Republic Bancshares of St. Petersburg, Nov. 2 in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court. The investors allege that during merger negotiations Republic's management intentionally kept them in the dark about troubles in its mortgage subsidiary.

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