MICHAEL Fingleton has been given the green light for a luxury hotel in Montenegro.
The former Irish Nationwide Building Society boss aims to re-develop the old Hotel Fjord in the Mediterranean port of Kotor on the west coast of Montenegro, part of the former Yugoslavia.
The area is known for its natural beauty and has seen a steady increase in tourism in recent years.
The hotel is to be given a facelift with plans for it to be unveiled in September.
Seven years ago, the Hotel Fjord was sold by the Montenegrin government to New Fjord Developments (NFD) a company in which Mr Fingleton is a director.
Now after several court battles, he has been given the go-ahead for the ambitious project.
Mr Fingleton met with the Mayor of Kotor, Marija Catovic, last month to discuss his plans, reports said yesterday.
One of the conditions for the hotel redevelopment is that Mr Fingleton take full charge of the project, which has been criticised in the Montenegro courts for its purchase price, how it was funded and delays in the construction work.
Mr Fingleton reportedly told the mayor he had London-based architects working on new plans for the hotel.
The hotel would be a "modern, highly ranked hotel" which would be at least "four star" standard.
A report from the meeting, published on the council's website, said that New Fjord, "as majority stakeholder" had paid €125,000 to creditors and more than €55,000 to cover bankruptcy proceedings.
The first phase of the hotel's revamp would see €400,000 invested by Mr Fingleton's firm.
Mr Fingleton was quoted as saying the company has a contractor for the construction and "we hired an architect from London" to work on the hotel's new plans.
The mayor said after the meeting: "New Fjord Developments Ltd has settled all taxes, surtaxes and other financial obligations to the municipality, so we're looking forward to September."
Kotor, a medieval town, which has a population of around 13,000, is listed as a world natural and heritage site by Unesco.
Mayor Catovic said the new hotel would have the "appearance and dimensions" that would allow it to "fit in with the natural characteristics of its environment".
Mr Fingleton was reported to have sunk up to €5.5m of his personal funds into the scheme kickstart the project, giving him the majority share in the company behind it.
Irish Nationwide Building Society was nationalised in 2010 after receiving €5.4bn in State funds to cover losses on property lending.
Mr Fingleton stepped down as managing director of INBS in 2009 after months of political pressure to hand back a controversial €1m bonus he received in 2008, shortly after the Irish banking system was saved by the Government's bank guarantee.