Nine urged to pay $500,000 in 60 Minutes case
The Nine Network is facing calls to pay $US500,000 to Ali Elamine in exchange for the release of an Australian man who allegedly orchestrated the botched 60 Minutes child snatch attempt in Lebanon.
Adam Whittington's mother is urging Nine to help secure the release of her son, who was arrested in April after attempting to return the two young children to Brisbane mum Sally Faulkner.
"Please, please Channel Nine help us. Bring Adam home," Georgina Whittington told The Australian.
"It was their fault, it went wrong. they can't just put the blame on Adam. I feel it is their (Nine's) responsibility."
Whittington's firm, Child Abduction Recovery, was hired by Ms Faulkner and reportedly received a $69,000 payment from Nine to recover the children from Lebanon where they have been living with their father, Mr Elamine.
The Australian reported Mr Whittington's lawyers in Beirut were close to agreeing a deal with Mr Elamine's legal team involving a $US500,000 payment to the Lebanese-American father of two in exchange for Mr Whittington's release from a Beirut prison.
The deal, if agreed, is also expected to secure the release of British Cypriot Craig Michael and two Lebanese associates, who were arrested alongside Mr Whittington.
However it's understood that Nine's lawyers in Lebanon have not had any formal approach about paying any money to Mr Elamine.
Mr Whittington, who has dual British-Australian citizenship, and his colleagues were arrested on child abduction charges along with a 60 Minutes crew and Ms Faulkner after the botched attempt to snatch the children on April 6.
The TV crew and Ms Faulkner were freed on bail after two weeks in custody as part of a deal thought to involve a $US500,000 compensation payment from Nine to Mr Elamine.
Lebanese dad’s $500K demand: Ali Elamine will drop kidnap charges against Adam Whittington and three colleagu... https://t.co/pQ4fnIopfu— Fachrur Rozy (@Fachrurrozy__) May 4, 2016
A Nine spokeswoman on Thursday would not comment on Mrs Whittington's calls to pay Mr Elamine, saying the entire matter was one for the Lebanese legal system.
"We have legal representatives over there, as does Adam Whittington, as does Sally Faulkner, and they are working with the judge," she said.
Meanwhile, Ms Faulkner is believed to have been prevented from having any contact with her children since she left Beirut nearly two weeks ago.
She gave up custody of five-year-old Lahela and three-year-old Noah as part of the deal to get Mr Elamine to drop abduction charges against her.
Judge Rami Abdullah is continuing to investigate the case and will decide if any formal charges are to be laid against any of those arrested over the attempted abduction.