Six months after his company settled fraud charges with the government, the chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Lloyd Blankfein, was invited by the White House to attend a meeting of business leaders Wednesday with Chinese President Hu Jingtao.

Wall Street sources said the invitation came Tuesday as a result of Goldman’s extensive business dealings in China, the world’s second-largest economy, and as part of the Obama Administration’s new business outreach campaign following Republican victories in the November elections.

“The Administration appears to have softened what was seen as its anti-business stance,” said one Wall Street executive who asked not to be identified because his firm works with the Administration on various financial matters. “Goldman Sachs (also) has a very significant presence in China built from the ground up over many years.”

The executive, who had knowledge of the invitation process, said the invitation came from the White House and not at the insistence of the Chinese.

Sources close to the process also noted that the government’s fraud charges were brought by an independent agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, not the Justice Department or other agency directly controlled by the Administration.

In April last year, the SEC charged that Goldman misled investors in the sale of mortgage-backed securities in 2007; Goldman settled the case in July, agreeing to pay $550 million.

A White House spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment on the Blankfein invitation. But in a statement on the Hu meeting, the White House said that the session will cover “the (U.S.) economic relationship with China.”

President Obama will highlight the importance of increasing exports to China, a key part of our National Export Initiative, and of increasing investment in the United States -- both critical to supporting millions of American jobs,” the White House said.

Blankfein is one of 14 American executives, mostly CEOs, who will attend the meeting. Other invited executive include Steve Ballmer of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Jeff Immelt of General Electric (NYSE:GE), Ellen Kullman of Dupont (NYSE:DD); Jim McNerney of Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Paul Otellini of Intel (NASDAQ:INTC). Four Chinese executives will also attend.

The only other executive of a financial services company on the list was John Thornton, the non-executive chairman of the North American operations of HSBC. The London-based bank has also been in the target of U.S. regulators; in October, it settled money laundering charges with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The invitations to Thornton and Blankfein also come just over a year after the President attacked financial executives in December 2009 as “fat cats” for opposing his financial regulation reform plan.

Blankfein’s attendance at the meeting came with another public relations coup for the company on Wednesday, when it was reportedly named one of four lead underwriters for AIG (NYSE:AIG), the giant insurance company that the government bailout out in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. The company is 92% owned by taxpayers, through the Treasury Department.

Goldman was one of several top financial companies that received government assistance as well, $10 billion through the Bush Administration’s TARP bank bailout. Goldman was one of the first firms to repay the money.