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Banker wrong-foots salsa instructors in HK
By Justine Lau in Hong Kong

Published: September 7 2006 at the Financial Times

A top HSBC banker based in Hong Kong was dancing for more than joy on Wednesday as she won a court order for the return of HK$62m ($8m, €6m, £4m) paid in advance for salsa lessons that she never took because of a public dispute with her dance instructor.

Closing a high-profile case that has riveted the former British colony, deputy High Court judge Gerard Muttrie ruled that Monica Wong, the head of HSBC’s private banking in Asia, was entitled to the return of all the money, plus interest and legal costs.

Ms Wong, 61, had sued Latin dance instructors Gaynor Fairweather and her husband Mirko Saccani – a 15-time world champion – claiming that Mr Saccani humiliated her during a practice in a restaurant in 2004.

Ms Wong claimed that after she put down the deposit, which covered half the cost of eight years of unlimited lessons, the relationship turned sour.

Mr Saccani admitted in court that he had called Ms Wong a “lazy cow” during the restaurant dance session, and told her to “move her arse”. Ms Wong said she suffered an emotional breakdown as the result of the insults.

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