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Americanas accounting scandal was a 'fraud,' says CEO of Brazil's Itau

FILE PHOTO: People walk in front of a Lojas Americanas store in Brasilia

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The chief executive of Brazil's biggest private lender Itau Unibanco said on Wednesday that the accounting inconsistencies that led retailer Americanas SA to request bankruptcy protection represent a case of 'fraud'.

Milton Maluhy Filho's remarks came after Itau, which had a multi-million-dollar exposure to Americanas, had to set aside more cash for bad loans in the fourth quarter.

Maluhy added that Itau has not identified any case similar to that of Americanas, which reported around $8 billion in debt after disclosing "inconsistencies" in its accounting.

(Reporting by Aluisio Alves; Editing by Steven Grattan)