UPDATE 1-Son of Brazilian billionaire founder of Banco Safra sues family

(Adds statement from Alberto Safra and details from family statement)

SAO PAULO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - An heir of Lebanese-Brazilian billionaire banker Joseph Safra has sued his mother and two siblings amid a dispute over the fortune of his late father, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday.

Alberto Safra accused his family members of purposely diluting his stake in a holding company of Safra National Bank in an effort to oust him from the family empire.

In the lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, Alberto Safra claimed that his mother, Vicky Safra, and brothers Jacob and David Safra had engaged in acts of corporate misconduct to damage his interests in the company.

"Due to illegal and aggressive acts committed by his brothers, Alberto Safra had no choice but to file a lawsuit with the Supreme Court of New York to protect his rights," he said in a statement.

Alberto Safra resigned from Banco Safra's board of directors in late 2019 after a dispute with his younger brother David. A year later, their father, Joseph Safra, who was for many years Brazil's richest man and the world's wealthiest banker, passed away aged 82.

In 2021, Alberto Safra and the family came close to an agreement on Joseph Safra's will to avoid litigation over the fortune, which was valued at $15 billion at the time.

In a statement, the Safra family rejected Alberto's claims and said it "regrets the path taken by Alberto, who first acted against his father in life and now acts against his memory."

It added that Alberto left Banco Safra a few months after receiving donations from his father in anticipation of his inheritance, without heeding the appeals made personally by his father and started a business competing with Banco Safra, "having even harassed and hired several executives of the Group."

The family statement added that Joseph Safra had asked several executives not to join Alberto and after several refusals by Alberto to change his plans, disowned his son. (Reporting by Aluisio Alves; Editing by Leslie Adler)