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September 19, 2014

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Goldman Sachs moves meeting from Las Vegas

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has moved a three-day conference from the Las Vegas Strip to San Francisco amid what the bank is calling a broad review of its activities.

Goldman, which has accepted $10 billion in federal bailout funds, will hold its Technology and Internet Conference Feb. 25-27 at the San Francisco Marriott instead of the Mandalay Bay casino-resort.

A Mandalay Bay official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to release customer information, said the bank agreed to pay the hotel $600,000 to cancel its reservation.

Goldman spokesman Ed Canaday confirmed the conference move to The Associated Press on Monday night but could not comment on the cancellation charge.

Canaday said he did not know whether the company was saving money or spending more with the move.

"That's not the driving reason behind it," Canaday told the AP.

"The decision to relocate the conference is based on our best efforts to operate according to the requirements of the new landscape of our industry," Canaday said.

The company made similar comments last week when it said it was postponing a planned March conference for investors and hedge fund clients, and moving the annual event from Miami to New York.

The switch comes as companies that have received money from the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program have faced increased scrutiny for how they spend the federal funds.

Wells Fargo & Co., which received a $25 billion infusion, last week canceled a planned employee recognition conference in Las Vegas after an AP story reported on the trip and the bank received criticism from Capitol Hill that it was misusing the funds.

Wells Fargo rejected the notion that its trip was a waste in ad published in the New York Times on Sunday, but said it had canceled all its employee recognition events for the rest of the year.

Morgan Stanley, which has received $10 billion in bailout funds, canceled a trip last week for top employees to Monte Carlo. American International Group Inc was sharply criticized in the fall for spending $440,000 on a retreat for top-producing insurance agents days after it received an $85 billion bailout loan.

The Goldman Sachs conference includes three days of presentations from senior executives of several major technology companies including Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., and Google Inc.

Canaday said the conference would remain largely the same other than the location change, which he said was revealed to Goldman Sachs clients on Monday.

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