Tara Brown and 60 Minutes crew released on bail after paying compensation over botched child abduction


April 20, 2016

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Tara Brown and 60 Minutes crew released on bail after paying compensation over botched child abduction – as Sally Faulkner reaches a deal with her estranged husband to secure her freedom if she gives up custody of their two children

  • Tara Brown and 60 Minutes crew are set to be released from Lebanon jail
  • Charges have been dropped over the botched child abduction attempt 
  • Deal has been struck between Sally Faulkner and her ex Ali Elamine 
  • But this could mean Ms Faulkner has to give up custody of her children 

TV presenter Tara Brown and her 60 Minutes crew are now free to leave Lebanon after paying compensation over the botched child abduction.

Tara-Brown-Lebanon

The charges against the TV crew were dropped after Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner reached a deal with her estranged husband Ali Elamine in which she conceded full custody of their children.

Judge Rami Abdullah released the 60 Minutes team on bail, but warned them that they would have to return if prosecutors decided to proceed with criminal charges. 

Ms Faulkner, who spent two weeks inside a Lebanese jail along with the TV crew, is also expected to be set free following the hearing at the Baabda Palace of Justice on Wednesday.

But a British ‘child recovery agent’ and two others implicated in the attempt to kidnap Ms Faulkner’s two children from her estranged husband’s family will remain in the country to face the charges.

Ms Faulkner, Ms Brown and her three colleagues were led into a judge’s office in handcuffs at the Beirut Court on Wednesday.

The crew, which includes 60 Minutes producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williamson and sound recordist David Ballment, were told they must pay compensation by 2pm Beirut time.

Nine says the crew could be on a flight back to Australia as early as tonight.

Prosecutors still have to decide whether to drop the state case against the detainees, so the nightmare may not yet be over, according to local lawyers.

Judge Abdullah told the court on Wednesday that if the TV crew do not return, they will be dealt with in ‘absentia’.

Mr Elamine’s lawyer Hussein Berjawi said the father dropped the charges against his ex-wife at the request of their two children.

Faulkner-Tara-Lebanon

‘It’s because she is the mum of his kids,’ Mr Berjawi said. ‘It’s based on the request of the children he will ask for her release.’

On Monday, Mr Elamine admitted that the young children ‘want their mum’.

The father also told the judge that he decided to drop the charges against the TV crew because they were ‘just doing their job’.

Ms Faulkner and the TV crew were arrested two weeks ago after a child recovery team seized her children from Mr Elamine’s family on a Beirut Street.

They have spent the past two weeks behind bars and were facing charges of kidnapping and being members of a criminal gang, which can attract maximum sentences of up to 10 years.

These charges against the TV crew have been dropped, but members of the child recovery agency hired for the operation are believed to still be facing charges.

This means the future is uncertain for Craig Michael and Adam Whittington, who are both part of a child recovery agency.

Ms Faulkner’s lawyer Ghassan Moghabghab told AAP that the warring couple negotiated an agreement which could mean the Brisbane mother’s ex-husband Ali Elamine gets full custody.

When Mr Moghabghab was asked whether the deal involved a payment to Mr Elamine, he replied: ‘For my part it does not involve money, I don’t know about the other party (the Nine Network).’

Speaking earlier on Wednesday, Mr Moghabghab claimed Mr Elamine was holding out for money as part of a deal to ensure Ms Faulkner isn’t formally charged with kidnapping

‘He is waiting for money. Everything Ali is doing leads to one conclusion, that he is aiming for money,’ Moghabghab told News Corp.

Mr Elamine has previously denied claims that he wants compensation, telling reporters that ‘money is not an issue’.

Ms Brown and Ms Faulkner made a brief appearance before a judge at the Baabda Palace of Justice on Monday before the hearing was postponed.

Judge Abdullah adjourned the matter so lawyers for Ms Faulkner and Mr Elamine could continue talks.

The lawyers have been discussing custody arrangements for the two young children who were allegedly taken on holiday to Lebanon by their father but not returned to Ms Faulkner as agreed.

The lawyer said that Mr Elamine took the two children on a three-week holiday to Lebanon and did not return them as agreed.

But an attempt to snatch them from a suburban Beirut street by a ‘child recovery team’, caught on CCTV, was ultimately unsuccessful.

Adam-Whittington-Lebanon

Also read: Agent at centre of 60 Minutes fiasco – who makes a living snatching other people’s children – is devastated he will miss his OWN son’s birthday as he’s locked in a Lebanon jail.

The children were returned to their father and the 60 Minutes team were arrested.

Craig Michael and Adam Whittington, believed to be members of the child recovery agency hired for the operation, were also arrested.

Whittington claims he has receipts showing that Nine made online payments totalling $115,000 to him for the planning of the operation and recovery of the children.

‘It was direct from Channel Nine, it was from their accounts department and they paid it in two instalments,’ he told The Australian.

Nine has refused to comment.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Testimonials from our clients

profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

download (2)

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail 

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

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.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Testimonials from our clients

profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

download (2)

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail 

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

 

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.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Testimonials from our clients

profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

download (2)

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail 

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

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.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Testimonials from our clients

profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

download (2)

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail 

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown, film crew detained in Lebanon filming child recovery operation


April 7, 2016

Source: smh.com.au

60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown and a film crew have been detained by Lebanese police after trying to film the recovery of two Australian children who had been taken to Beirut by their Lebanese father.

Tara-Brown-Lebanon

Brown, veteran producer Steven Rice and a cameraman were reporting on an operation to recover the two children of Brisbane woman Sally Faulkner from her former husband Ali Elamine.

The children, Lahala, 5, and Noah, 2, were taken to Lebanon for a holiday by Mr Elamine who runs a Beirut surf business.

Despite promising the holiday would last for only a short period of time Mr Elamine is alleged to have refused to return the children to Australia.

Ms Faulkner then made a number of appeals for public funding to try to recover the children from Beirut including an approach to the Foreign Affairs Department.

Ms Faulkner had travelled to Lebanon to meet up with Tara Brown and her crew for the ‘recovery’ by UK-based agency Child Abduction Recovery International (CARI).

Fairfax Media understands the 60 Minutes crew were in Beirut with Ms Faulkner to film a private operation involving an international child-recovery agency trying to snatch the children from the father.

But after Ms Faulkner and the children escaped to a safe house, Beirut police located the 60 Minutes crew and employees of the recovery agency and local security, and sought to interview them.

On Thursday morning, Beirut media have reported the incident as a kidnapping involving the children being snatched at a bus stop while they waited with their grandmother.

Reports said four men driving a silver Hyundai had grabbed the children.

Fairfax Media understands a car and a boat, which were to have been used in the recovery operation, have been seized by police, and local fixers were also involved in the operation.

Ms Faulkner and the children are thought to have avoided interception by police but their whereabouts are unknown.

60 Minutes, on Thursday morning, confirmed it understood Brown and the crew were detained in Lebanon while reporting on a story.

Executive producer Kirsty Thompson said 60 Minutes was working with authorities to resolve the situation.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Testimonials from our clients

profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

download (2)

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail 

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

%d bloggers like this: