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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 September 2006, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Hong Kong banker wins salsa case
Monica Wong talks to journalists on 6 September 2006
Ms Wong said salsa was still her passion
A prominent Hong Kong banker has won back millions of dollars paid to famous salsa dancers for private lessons.

Monica Wong agreed to pay Italian Mirko Saccani and world champion wife Gaynor Fairweather HK$120m ($15.4m, 8.2m) for eight years of unlimited lessons.

But the relationship quickly broke down after Mr Saccani called her a "lazy cow" at a public practice session.

A judge ordered the pair to return HK$62m Ms Wong had already paid, plus interest.

Ms Wong, daughter of a shipping tycoon and head of HSBC's private banking business in Asia, told reporters she was pleased with the outcome.

She had agreed to pay the couple for unlimited lessons and competitions from 2004 until 2012, after her interest in salsa became a passion.

At one point Ms Wong, who achieved some competitive success, was taking lessons up to six times a day.

But in August 2004 Mr Saccani reportedly told her to "move her arse" in front of friends and business clients at a practice session in a Hong Kong restaurant.

Mr Saccani maintained the comments were intended to motivate, but Ms Wong said they caused her to have a breakdown.

Deputy High Court Judge Gerard Paul Muttrie ruled that Ms Wong should get her money back. "They took her money for services in the future which she would never take up," he said.

Ms Wong said salsa was still her passion. "I will continue to dance and compete for as long as possible," she said.

It is not known if the couple plan to appeal.

Regions and territories: Hong Kong
17 Aug 06 |  Country profiles

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