Sally Faulkner Set To Arrive Home After Emotional Goodbye
Sally Faulkner is expected to arrive back in Brisbane soon following an emotional goodbye to her two children in Lebanon.
The mother at the centre of the 60 Minutes child-snatch drama is set to reunite with her partner Brendan Pierce and their young child when she returns from Beirut as early as 6.30am on Saturday.
Ms Faulkner bade farewell to her two other children - Lahela, 5 and Noah, 3 - on Friday - after agreeing to give custody to her estranged husband Ali Elamine.
She was in tears after leaving the children she kissed and hugged at a play centre in Beirut, far from the cramped prison cell she had been in for the past fortnight.
Speaking to Nine Network shortly after her release, Ms Faulkner said: "I love them and Mummy's sorry that it all worked out this way. I tried.
"I hope I can see them one day again in Australia, I really do."
The Australian Family Court granted Ms Faulkner full custody of Lahela and Noah but she gave up that right in exchange for Mr Elamine dropping his abduction charges.
That led to Ms Faulkner and the 60 Minutes crew's release from prison, although they still face possible criminal charges.
Mr Elamine will not let the children return to Australia anytime soon, but Ms Faulkner can visit them in Lebanon or a third country such as the UAE or Cyprus.
Asked if it was right to separate the children from their mother, Mr Elamine replied: "No, no, we are discussing that, Sal and I, right now. If she is not here, she can Skype them and whenever she feels the need or wants to come over."
Mr Elamine has not dropped charges against the Child Abduction Recovery International team members who seized the children on a Beirut street as they walked with Mr Elamine's mother on April 6.
The 60 Minutes crew arrived back in Sydney on Thursday night, after a lawyer handed an investigating judge in Beirut a document purporting to show Nine paid $A69,000 to CARI.
Dated January 22, 2016, the "payment detail report" generated by ANZ bank notes the fee of $69,000 drawn from the television network's account was for "investigation into my missing child".
The document supports claims by CARI CEO and operation leader, dual Australian-British national Adam Whittington, that he was paid directly by Nine to go to Beirut and take Ms Faulkner's children from their father.
"This is the first instalment of two payments that were given to my client by Channel Nine," Mr Whittington's lawyer Joe Karam told AAP in Beirut on Thursday.
"Sally wanted this, proposed this, Channel Nine had the opportunity of financing this and if it was a successful plan they would have the best scoop."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Nine was "most unwise" in the way it pursued the story and the possibility of money changing hands would be "of interest" to regulators, possibly including the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.