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Former Spice Girl works as 'escort'

Feb. 4, 2005 at 11:57 AM

VIENNA, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Billionaire Dickie Lugner paid a former Spice Girl nearly $1 million to be his escort this week at the lavish Opera Ball of Vienna.

The Austrian businessman, 72, paid Geri Halliwell, 32, a cool $945,000 for five hours at the high society function, the Mirror reported Friday. Halliwell wore a fluffy white coat as she mingled with the event's 4,500 guests.

Lugner has paid other stars to escort him to the function, including Grace Jones, Pamela Anderson, Sophia Loren, Ivana Trump and the Duchess of York. Typically, they also sign their names at one of his shopping malls.

"I chose Geri because of her wonderful smile," he said.

Organizers of the society ball say he cheapens the affair and have tried for years to ban him.

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