NEW YORK - Dime Bancorp, still trying to fend off a $1.9 billion hostile takeover bid by rival North Fork Bancorp, filed suit late Wednesday against Salomon Smith Barney, which has lately been acting as adviser to North Fork.Dime says Salomon, now a unit of Citigroup Inc., is in violation of a confidentiality agreement it signed when it was hired in April 1997 to advise Dime on its acquisition of North American Mortgage Co. That was months before Salomon Brothers was acquired by Travelers Group and merged into Smith Barney. Travelers and Citicorp merged in late 1998 to form Citigroup.

In a press statement, Salomon accused Dime of "intentionally misrepresenting" the agreement, saying it only prohibits the use of confidential information about Dime. "We are confident that we have completely respected our client agreements," Salomon said.

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