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September 23, 2014

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World’s wealthiest and most powerful in secret meeting at Bellagio

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Mark J. Terrill / Assocated Press

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talks with Magic Johnson as they watch the Los Angeles Clippers play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half of Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal NBA playoff series Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Los Angeles.

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Robin Leach and Nicholas Sarkozy at Restaurant Guy Savoy in Caesars Palace.

Many of the world’s most powerful people — including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Obama’s top adviser Valerie Jarrett — are meeting secretly in Las Vegas this week to discuss global money and then have some after-hours fun.

Mary Schapiro, the first female chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, also is in attendance. Forbes Magazine ranked Mary as the 56th most powerful woman in the world.

Everything is wrapped in secrecy and under extraordinary security, with as many as 30 bodyguards assigned to VIPs, but I’ve learned that Kevin Spacey, the unscrupulous and ruthless president on Netflix’s “House of Cards,” NBA legend Magic Johnson and director Francis Ford Coppola are on the guest list.

It was exactly a year ago that I ran into former French President Nicholas Sarkozy and actor Al Pacino at Restaurant Guy Savoy in Caesars Palace and then watched as they dodged traffic to walk back to Bellagio.

I learned that they were in Las Vegas for the ultimate hedge-fund conference. I popped it on my calendar to check this year’s return, and sure enough another slew of high-profile billionaire and millionaire names are here this week for what’s described by insiders as a “fund forum on crack.”

SkyBridge Capital runs this summit, billed as the must-attend hedge-fund event of the year. SkyBridge Capital, on Wall Street, is a fund of hedge funds, and its senior manager, Troy Gayeski, refuses to reveal what’s discussed, only saying that conference content is focused on balanced political dialogue and charity activities. No comment about VIP dinners and parties, either.

Think of it as the world’s ultimate, freewheeling gathering of the globe’s top political and financial men and women. I’m reliably informed that some of those attending will have earned checks of more than $2 billion from their investments with hedge funds last year.

I wonder if this time around Tony will drop in on fellow Brit chef Gordon Ramsay’s steakhouse at the Paris?

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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