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Abba star loses Buddhist temple loan dispute

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Abba star loses Buddhist temple loan dispute
09:46 CET+01:00
Former Abba star Anni-Frid Reuss has lost her bid to recoup 46 million kronor ($7 million) she gave to a Qigong temple in southern Sweden.

The district court in Malmö on Thursday rejected a request by Reuss (nee Lyngstad) and her partner Henry Smith, to impose a bankruptcy order on Swedish Medical Qiqong Investment AB, which operates the Yangtorp Qigong Resort, the Expressen newspaper reported.

The former Abba star sought the order after the resort, located near Hörby in southern Sweden, recently missed a payment on her loan.

In denying Reuss' request, the court also ordered her and her partner to pay 170,000 kronor to Qigong Resort operator Master Marcus Bongart in order to cover his court costs.

Bongart has always viewed the money was a gift to help fund the building of the temple. But the former Abba-singer claims the money was a loan that should be re-paid.

Upon learning of Reuss's lawsuit, Bongart, who founded and built up the temple and healing centre on the site of the old village school house in Jönstorp, told The Local he was "in shock".

He claimed the money given by the former Abba star was a gesture of "commitment to the operation" and was meant as a donation and not as a loan.

“We have been friends for a long time. We have had disagreements over how to develop the temple, but that is all that has happened. The money is not there to be paid back, it is invested in the buildings, in the Buddhist temple,” he said at the time.

The court ruled, however, that the claim on the 46.2 million kronor is in dispute, writing that “the circumstances around the signing of the promissory note are unclear in several respects”.

During the proceedings, a lawyer for the ex-Abba singer's partner Henry Smith was unable to present written evidence that he had “rightfully acquired” three unpaid bills from local contractors working on the temple.

Smith had also claimed previously that the temple was in dire financial straits. While that may have been the case a month ago, donations to the temple have spiked since Reuss and Smith filed their claims.

“We have many friends,” Bongart said during the proceedings on Monday, according to Expressen.

Despite the setback, Abba-Frida plans to pursue her quest to get her money back.

“Today it looks like there will be a trial to show that Bongart did indeed borrow the money. We'll have to call witnesses,” Reuss's attorney, Carl-Gustaf Söder, told the TT Spektra news agency.

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