You're 'simply wrong' about bonuses, BofA tells Cuomo

Bank of America Corp. is firing back in an escalating feud with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

The bank Wednesday released a letter that it sent to Cuomo's office Tuesday saying the bank was "surprised and disappointed" by accusations that the bank has hindered the attorney general's investigation of Merrill Lynch bonuses by invoking attorney-client privilege.

In a letter sent earlier on Tuesday, Cuomo's office demanded the bank stop invoking the privilege as it considers charges against bank executives. Among the issues Cuomo is investigating is whether the bank misled investors about Merrill bonuses in the proxy document sent to investors ahead of the Dec. 5 shareholder vote.

"First, the basic premise of the letter is simply wrong," Bank of America's attorney, Lewis Liman, wrote in the bank's response. "Because Bank of America did not violate the law, it has not offered reliance on legal advice as a defense."

Bank of America also lashed out at Cuomo's office for refusing to meet with Bank of America's lawyers to discuss the investigation.

"We should note that we have repeatedly asked to meet with your Office to explain the relevant facts with respect to each of the matters the letter states are under investigation," Liman wrote. "Each of those requests has been rejected. We do not understand your Office's apparent refusal to meet with Bank of America's counsel and to hear Bank of America and Merrill Lynch's side of the story."