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Goldman Sachs

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The company famously likened to a vampire squid noted a donation of $200 million in its latest quarter to the Goldman Sachs Foundation -- obviously an attempt to deflect criticism stemming from the fact that it's making buckets of money while the unemployment rate keeps climbing up to nearly 10%. Asked by an analyst on the third-quarter conference call whether such donations should be expected in the future, CFO David Viniar made no commitments, saying Goldman had no targets and would make the decision about any fourth quarter donation in the fourth quarter.

While in real-world terms, $200 million is hard to classify as a paltry sum, in this case it's up against the $16.7 billion the company has set aside so far in 2009 for employee compensation.

That figure puts Goldman on track to pay out a total of $22.27 billion this year, or more than $700,000 for each of the 31,700 employees it listed at the end of the quarter. It may take more than a contribution to charity of less than 1 percent of the company's anticipated compensation for the entire year for Goldman to shed its image as the Wall Street's poster boy for exorbitant pay.


Written by Dan Freed in New York