Michael Harte wins back Italian island

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Michael Harte wins back Italian island

Two-year legal fight comes to an end.

Former Commonwealth Bank CIO Michael Harte has been given 60 days to fork out €2.94 million (A$4.48 million) for the Italian island of Budelli after a Sardinian court overturned a 2014 ruling to allow him to buy the coastal paradise.

Harte - now the chief operations and technology officer at Barclays Bank after departing CBA last year - had initially purchased the island in 2013 after its former owner, a Milan property firm, went bankrupt.

But despite Budelli having been in private hands for years, Harte faced local backlash over the proposed foreign ownership of the island, prompting the Italian government to pass legislation allowing it to buy back the land.

It took Budelli out of Harte's hands in January last year and reimbused him the €2.94 million.

Harte appealed the decision, and was this week successful, with a Sardinian court ruling the National Park Authority must now hand over custody of the island to Harte, according to Il Fatto Quotidiano.

The CIO has 60 days to come up with the €2.94 million.

He reportedly plans to draft conservation plans to protect its ecosystems.

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“My plan is to move forward with environmental initiatives, collaborate with the [national] park authority and make other resources available so that this paradise becomes known to the whole world,” Harte told Il Fatto Quotidiano.

Harte was one of the few Australian CIOs during his time at CBA to bring in a seven-figure salary. In 2010 alone he took in $4.2 million from the bank.

He spent around eight years with the bank, during which time he completed CBA's massive $1.5 billion core banking overhaul. Harte has taken on a similar challenge at Barclays.

Budelli is an island in the Maddalena archipelago and part of the La Maddalena National Park. It spans around 12.3km, most of which is coast.

The island is renowned for its pink beach and is one of four uninhabited islands in the archipelago.

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