Geri's [Pounds Sterling] 1/2m for a Night at the Opera; PRICEY SPICE AS HALLIWELL EARNS [Pounds Sterling]1,666 A MINUTE JUST FOR BEING TYCOON'S PARTY GUEST

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Byline: PATRICK SAWER

AT THAT price she could have danced all night, and still have danced some more.

Geri Halliwell spent a night in Vienna and was reportedly paid [pounds sterling]500,000 for the pleasure of her company.

As the guest of Austrian businessman Richard Lugner and his wife Christina, she is understood to have earned [pounds sterling]100,000 an hour for her appearance at the annual Opera Ball.

The 32-year-old former Spice Girl is the latest female star to be paid a handsome sum by Mr Lugner to accompany him to the [pounds sterling]150a-head ball, held at the Vienna's State Opera House.

An insider at last night's event said today: "Geri has really hit pay-dirt here - this must be the easiest job in her life. It works out at about [pounds sterling]1,666 a minute. All she has to do is turn up, chat and dance."

To be fair, Halliwell's duties were rather more onerous than that. She also had to laugh at Mr Lugner's jokes and sign autographs at one of his many shopping centres.

He said: "I chose Geri because of her wonderful smile. Just like me and my wife, she always smiles when she sees a camera."

Mr Lugner's previous guests have included Grace Jones, Pamela Anderson, Sophia Loren, Ivana Trump and the Duchess of York, but this year seems to have cost him more than usual. …