As Citigroup Inc. takes its $60 billion Wachovia-related lawsuit against Wells Fargo & Co. into 2009, some are questioning its motives and raising concerns about the cost to its reputation if the suit fails.

Citi's legal preparations are in their fourth month, its legal fees are mounting, and analysts are increasingly convinced its quest is quixotic. But the company is adamant in its contention that Wells' 11th-hour purchase of Wachovia Corp. was underhanded. A spokesman this week reiterated that it will pursue "damage claims vigorously on behalf of our shareholders."

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