60 Minutes: Nine paid me in two instalments, says Beirut snatch planner Adam Whittington


April 17, 2016

Source: The Australian

Adam Whittington, the chief planner of the failed abduction of Sally Faulkner’s children, is poised to present documentary evidence to a Beirut court today that directly links two payments from Channel Nine to himself.

Child-Abduction-Recovery-International-Adam-CARI

In an explosive revelation, Mr Whittington has told The Australian he has receipts of two payments coming straight from the Channel Nine accounts department. Mr Whittington said he received two internet transfers of funds from the Nine Network several months ago: the first for 40 per cent of the agreed fee of more than $115,000, and then a second for the remaining 60 per cent.

He said the money was for the planning and recovery of three-year-old Noah and five-year-old Lahela from their southern Beirut home so they could be returned to their mother Sally Faulkner.

“It was direct from Channel Nine, it was from their accounts department and they paid it in two instalments,’’ Mr Whittington said from behind a heavily meshed door at the Baabda detention centre in Beirut at the weekend.

“I have the receipts and internet payments; for them (Channel Nine) to claim they weren’t involved is a joke.’’ Ms Faulkner’s lawyer, Ghassan Moghabghab, told The Australian yesterday that “Sally has no money’’, when asked if she had been an intermediary between Channel Nine and Child Abduction Recovery International.

The distinction is critical ­because if the “recovery’’ payment came straight from Channel Nine it implicates the television station directly in the failed snatch.

However, if Channel Nine paid Faulkner for the story, the network could argue it had no control over how she used the money and were on the scene only to report the news.

Channel Nine last night ­declined to comment on the ­allegations.

Mr Whittington’s claims come as relationships between all of those involved in the botched operation at a southern Beirut bus stop on the morning of April 6 have begun to disintegrate, with lawyers for Channel Nine and Ms Faulkner appearing to distance themselves from Mr Whittington’s company Child Abduction Recovery International.

Weekend talks regarding the custody of the children also ended without resolution, with Ms Faulkner’s lawyer, Mr Moghabghab, suggesting that any new deal-making was not between his client and Channel Nine, but between the children’s father Ali Al-Amin and Channel Nine.

He said this might be happening “not between the lawyers but another level’’.

Mr Moghabghab said Ms Faulkner had agreed to relinquish custody, but was told by Mr Al-Amin’s lawyer: “We are not in a hurry to talk about this.’’

There are also new allegations that Ms Faulkner’s estranged husband Mr Al-Amin had been cognisant of the kidnapping plans after being tipped off by a confidante of Ms Faulkner.

In addition to Mr Whittington’s claims, the court has already received another witness statement from one of those arrested that the detailed operation was directly paid for by 60 Minutes.

Also read: 60 Minutes crew detained in Beirut paid $120,000 to a child recovery agency which ‘faked’ success stories on Facebook

At the moment three different accusations against those involved in the Beirut incident have been lodged with the prosecutors: from the police, from Mr Al-Amin and also from Ms Faulkner’s former mother-in-law Ibtissam Berri, who claimed she was hit in the head with a gun during the botched abduction. The recovery crew has disputed this.

Mr Moghabghab will today ask the court to release Ms Faulkner on bail and to consider the operation as a family custody matter rather than a kidnapping. But talks broke down over the weekend although Mr Moghabghab said Ms Faulkner had agreed to all of the custody requests demanded by Mr Al-Amin last week.

The claims against the 60 Minutes crew (Brown, producer Stephen Rice, sound man David Ballment and cameraman Ben Williamson), the CARI operatives (Whittington, his tattoo artist former client Craig Michael), and two Lebanese security personnel (Mohammed Hamza and Khaled Barbour) are problematic. Judge Rami Abdullah has already warned that he believes a crime has been committed and that he was keen to find out which Channel Nine official had signed off on the assignment.

Lebanese legal experts have warned that the accused may face many days in detention — even in the best-case scenario if the charges are eventually dropped — as Justice Abdullah would generally take up to a week and a half to come to a decision of this nature. The influx of 1.2 million Syrian refugees into Lebanon has placed severe strain on the judicial system leading to delays.

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Beirut kidnap – The father knew they were coming


April 10, 2016

Source: the new daily

Nine ‘paid’ $115,000 for botched abduction

Tara-Brown-Lebanon

60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown and Aussie mum shackled together with handcuffs.

Concern is mounting for an Australian mother and Channel Nine crew detained in Lebanon after a botched child recovery operation.

Lebanese authorities say they have uncorroborated evidence Nine paid for the operation, which saw the children of Australian mother Sally Faulkner snatched off a Beirut street.

It appears to have been an attempt to get the children back to Australia after their Lebanese father, Ali el-Amien, took them to Lebanon last year and refused to let them return.

But four men accused of grabbing the children have been detained along with Ms Faulkner and a four-member crew from Chanel Nine, which was filming a story with her.

Authorities say they now have a signed statement from a member of the “recovery team” who says Nine paid $115,000 for the operation.

Sally-Faulkner-Lebanon

However, that statement is uncorroborated, the ABC has not seen it and cannot confirm the claim.

Next week, the police are expected to pass the investigatory brief onto the prosecutor.

At times during their detention, Nine reporter Tara Brown and Ms Faulkner have been kept shackled together with handcuffs.

At one point, although separated from Tara Brown, Ms Faulkner still had handcuffs dangling from one wrist.

Authorities say, despite earlier media reports, no firearms were recovered when the “recovery team” was detained.

Ms Faulkner has been desperate to get her children back to Australia.

Lebanon is not a party to an international agreement covering such disputes.

And Lebanese law, based on religion, is heavily stacked against the mother once children reach a certain age.

But Lebanese officials see the operation as a mix of arrogance and stupidity.

The area where the two children were grabbed in south Beirut is heavily patrolled and monitored by Hezbollah and Amal, two powerful Lebanese political and militia organisations.

Lebanon-Kidnapping

The children’s grandmother says she was assaulted in the incident.

And the father’s family is politically connected.

His mother is a cousin of the speaker of Lebanon’s parliament, Nabih Berri.

He leads the Amal movement and has ready access to an enormous security apparatus, which includes control of ports and airports.

On top of that, Mr el-Amien told the ABC he knew, to a degree that they were coming because one of the children’s iPads still had access to Ms Faulkner’s email account and he saw messages detailing early discussion of the operation.

The ABC has not seen that email traffic.

Mr el-Amien claims he warned Ms Faulkner not to try to get the children back but did not let her know he had inside knowledge about her alleged plans.

While the route the children took each morning would have been easiest for the “recovery team” to check and re-check during surveillance, it is also in the midst of dense traffic and they were grabbed close to peak hour, making a complete getaway difficult.

Channel Nine has been contacted for comment.

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60 Minutes crew detained in Beirut paid $120,000 to a child recovery agency which ‘faked’ success stories on Facebook


April 7, 2016

Source: dailymail.co.uk

60 Minutes crew detained in Beirut paid $120,000 to a child recovery agency which ‘faked’ success stories on Facebook and whose operators have been arrested around the world.

  • Channel 9 paid $120,000 to a ‘cut rate’ child recovery agency CARI
  • CARI operatives have been arrested in other child recover cases
  • One CARI commando is in Peru prison after ‘abducting’ selfie queen’s child
  • The agency makes a fake claim on Facebook about a 2013 operation
  • The Facebook photo is really a police rescue of a  lost family in Oregon

Channel 9 paid $120,000 to a child recovery agency whose operators were detained along with reporter Tara Brown and crew who were filming an operation in an international custody case in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

Daily Mail Australia has learned that the man leading the operation to recover the six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son of Australian woman Sally Faulkner from the Beirut family of the children’s father Ali El Alamine was arrested two years ago in Singapore.

Former British police officer Adam Whittington, who runs Child Abduction Recovery International (CARI) and who is reportedly under police arrest in Beirut along with 60 Minutes’ Tara Brown and her crew, was jailed in Singapore 18 months ago over a child abduction case.

Whittington’s CARI agency also boasts on its Facebook page alongside a photograph of a woman and child in a helicopter which is claims to be a successful 2013 CARI child recovery operation in the Philippines.

The photograph is actually a 2006 Oregon, US police rescue of a mother who became lost with her daughters on a remote snowy mountain and had to be helicoptered out.

Cari-child-abduction-recovery-international

Parental-Kidnapping

Another CARI operative, Kevin Critchley, is currently in a Peruvian prison following the alleged kidnap of a five-year-old girl in Lima last month. The girl’s father was also arrested.

The CARI agency has also allegedly made exaggerated claims about the number of former SAS soldiers it has working for it.

Daily Mail Australia understands that the mother in the Beirut case, Sally Faulkner, who is also known as Sally Clafinger, is not in custody with the 60 Minutes crew or the CARI operatives including Mr Whittington.

Ms Faulkner is believed to be have been taken to a safe house with her children, Lahela, 6, and Noah El Amine, 3, although it is unclear how she will get the children out of Lebanon and home to Australia without their passports.

But there are fears for the welfare of Ms Brown and her crew if local reports that the operation involved violence and weapons proved to be true.

Lebanese television station An-Nahar has reported the ‘recovery’ operation of Ms Faulkner’s children as a ‘kidnap’ by ‘four gunman’ driving a silver Hyundai and ‘abducting’ the boy and girl from their grandmother as they waited for the school bus.

Channel 9 released footage of the rescue operation on Thursday in which no weapons are visible.

An-Nahar reported that the gunmen ‘struck the grandmother Ibtisam El Amine on the head with a gun’ before taking the children from the outer Beirut suburb of Hadath on Wednesday.

The video does not show this, although the operatives are seen shoving people out of the way to get the children.

The 60 Minutes crew was in a car filming the recovery of Ms Faulkner’s children who is now in hiding with her young son and daughter.

The children’s father Ali El Amine and Ms Faulkner separated more than a year ago and Mr El Alamine flew to Lebanon with the children for a ‘holiday’ but failed to return them, telling his ex-wife via Skype that she ‘would never see them again’.

The operatives snatched the El Amine children from their paternal grandmother at a bus stop in the outer Beirut suburb of Hadath (pictured) on Wednesday morning as they waited for the school bus

The operatives snatched the El Amine children from their paternal grandmother at a bus stop in the outer Beirut suburb of Hadath (pictured) on Wednesday morning as they waited for the school bus

CARI child recovery commando Kevin Critchley (pictured) was arrested in Peru last month after being detained over an 'international kidnap plot' to take the five-year-old daughter of Peruvian selfie queen Rose Chacón

CARI child recovery commando Kevin Critchley (pictured) was arrested in Peru last month after being detained over an ‘international kidnap plot’ to take the five-year-old daughter of Peruvian selfie queen Rose Chacón

Peruvian selfie queen Rose Chacón (pictured) took the girl Adrianna, 5, back to her native Peru from America claiming her husband had 'inappropriately touched' their daughter, but he reportedly hired a CARI commando for $280,00 to recover the girl

Peruvian selfie queen Rose Chacón (pictured) took the girl Adrianna, 5, back to her native Peru from America claiming her husband had ‘inappropriately touched’ their daughter, but he reportedly hired a CARI commando for $280,00 to recover the girl

Ms Faulkner flew to Beirut to meet up with the CARI team, with Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes paying the $120,000 bill for her children’s recovery.

After taking the children from their grandmother at the bus stop, the CARI team handed them over to Ms Faulkner and she allegedly telephoned Mr El Amine and informed him that the children were with her.

Mr El Amine is reported to have then informed police that his children had been abducted and he was concerned they would be taken out of the country and to Australia.

It is unclear as to who has made claims that there were weapons used in the operation and that Mr El Amine’s mother was pistol whipped.

International child abduction recovery specialists CARI reportedly charged 60 Minutes $120,000 to recover the EL Amine children, but were arrested along with Tara Brown and her crew 

International child abduction recovery specialists CARI reportedly charged 60 Minutes $120,000 to recover the EL Amine children, but were arrested along with Tara Brown and her crew

All those detained were still in police custody on Thursday morning as Beirut officers investigated the validity of reports that weapons were used and an assault had taken place.

The Nine Network told Daily Mail Australia they were not commenting on the incident other than they were concerned for the welfare of Brown and her crew and were ‘working with authorities to get them released and back home as soon as possible’.

Adam Whittington and his firm CARI have made several controversial child recovery operations previously and the agency has made claims they had up to ten former SAS soldiers on their books.

Last month, Peruvian police arrested CARI operator Kevin Critchley after he was reportedly paid $280,000 to intervene in the custody battle between a Peruvian selfie queen and her American husband.

Sally Faulkner, pictured with her ex-husband Ali El Amine with their child in happier times, hired a child recovery agency to retrieve her children from Beirut and they are now in hiding with the operatives and 60 Minutes in police custody

Sally Faulkner, pictured with her ex-husband Ali El Amine with their child in happier times, hired a child recovery agency to retrieve her children from Beirut and they are now in hiding with the operatives and 60 Minutes in police custody

The boss of the child abduction recovery agency CARI Adam Whittignton (pictured) was also arrested in 2014 in Singapore following an elaborate plot to recover a British woman's son and served 16 weeks' prison

The boss of the child abduction recovery agency CARI Adam Whittignton (pictured) was also arrested in 2014 in Singapore following an elaborate plot to recover a British woman’s son and served 16 weeks’ prison

Sally Faulkner, pictured with her ex-husband Ali El Amine, now has to make her way out of Lebanon with her two children following the operation which led to Lebanese police arresting reporter Tara Brown

Sally Faulkner, pictured with her ex-husband Ali El Amine, now has to make her way out of Lebanon with her two children following the operation which led to Lebanese police arresting reporter Tara Brown

Critchley, 35, reportedly a former British commando, is in custody with Dustin Kent in a Lima prison after they allegedly plotted to snatch back Mr Kent’s five-year-old daughter Adrianna from the girl’s mother, Rose Chacón.

The men are being held for allegedly being part of an ‘international kidnap plot’ to take back Adrianna, after Ms Chacón took the girl to her native Peru from America claiming her husband had ‘inappropriately touched’ their daughter.

Mr Critchley, a self-employed ‘close protection operative and freelance surveillance operator’, was believed to have been working for CARI on the operation.

The two El Amine children (pictured) were living with their father and being cared for by their grandmother when they were grabbed of a Beirut street

The two El Amine children (pictured) were living with their father and being cared for by their grandmother when they were grabbed of a Beirut street

In September 2014, the London Telegraph reported that CARI’s chief operator Adam Whittington was jailed in Singapore after a foiled attempt to snatch a two-year-old boy back on behalf of his mother.

The boy’s London-based mother, 30, was also sent to prison. The mother had been in the process of divorcing her husband and had gained UK custody of the child, but her ex-partner took out a Singaporean order preventing his son’s removal from the country.

Whittington reportedly chartered a catamaran, then hired a taxi and went to the boy’s grandparents’ house where he allegedly put the grandfather in a headlock.

Whittington, the mother and another man involved in the elaborate plot were arrested the following day.

He was sentenced to 16 weeks prison for criminal assault, voluntarily causing hurt and illegal entry into Singapore.

CARI’s Facebook site features a photograph of a woman in a rescue helicopter clutching an infant on her lap

The caption written beside it says ‘Landed safely back home in Australia, 2 children abducted over 12 months ago into the Philippines. One VERY happy family waiting at Sydney airport after CARI recovered both children safely from horrible living and health conditions.

‘When the courts, lawyers and authorities could and would do nothing, CARI did.’

The photo is actually a picture of San Francisco mother Kati Kim, 30, who in December 2006, CBS News reported, was photographed with her seven-month old, Sabine Kim, after they were rescued by police in Oregon.

Ms Kim, husband James, Sabine, and daughter Penelope, 4, became lost during a family vacation to a remote Oregon mountain in winter.

James Kim set out to look for help when the family became stranded and was never found. Police airlifted a relieved Ms Kim and her daughters from the scene in a helicopter to the nearest hospital where they were reported to be in ‘good’ condition.

 On its Facebook post beside the photograph of Ms Kim and her daughter, CARI wrote ‘Welcome home kids from all the team at CARI. CARI – Second to None’.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted the CARI agency for a response.

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