BofA Surrenders Legal Documents about Merrill Deal

After months of fighting with regulators, Bank of America (BofA) is turning over documents about its purchase of Merrill Lynch, according to news reports.

The bank has used attorney-client privilege as a defense, but is now waiving the privilege. The Associated Press reported BofA is disclosing recommendations it received from outside attorneys over whether to provide details to shareholders about Merrill Lynch’s financial troubles.

The bank has come under fire from both the SEC and New York’s attorney general’s office for allegedly not properly disclosing Merrill’s financial woes and bonuses paid to Merrill executives before the acquisition was approved. The bank has continued to deny allegations that it misled shareholders and agreed to settle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, a judge has repeatedly refused to approve the settlement (see “BofA Responds to SEC Charges”).

In a turnabout, the bank has agreed to waive attorney-client privilege for investigations by the New York attorney general’s office, the SEC, and a congressional committee, according to the AP, citing an anonymous source.

“Given the pressure in multiple inquiries to provide additional insight, we’ve decided to waive it in this matter to get the issue behind us,” Bank of America spokesman Larry DiRita told the AP.