June 30, 2016
Source: The Australian
The costs of the Nine Network’s disastrous child abduction story in Lebanon continue to escalate, with the network transferring more than $500,000 to its Lebanese legal team last week.
With jailed child recovery agent Adam Whittington and his team of three fixers due back in court as early as today, The Australian has obtained fresh detail about the skyrocketing costs associated with the botched operation. It is understood Nine transferred $US400,000 to its Lebanese lawyers on June 24.
The transfer, coupled with earlier payments, put the network’s costs well over $US2 million in legal fees alone.
The payments, which Nine has been at pains to say have been to cover the network’s legal fees, and not to bribe officials, came as the Lebanese judge presiding over the case was expected to make a decision on whether to press ahead with criminal charges against the Nine crew, who were arrested over the failed abduction of Lahela and Noah Faulkner, children of Brisbane woman Sally Faulkner.
Nine’s reporter Tara Brown, cameraman Ben Williamson, sound recordist David Bailment and producer Stephen Rice, as well as Ms Faulkner, have been on bail since April 22 when the father of the children, Ali Elamine, dropped his personal charges after Nine paid $US500,000. Since then there has been great uncertainty about the fate of Mr Whittington and his crew who, unlike Ms Faulkner, a jilted mother, command no public sympathy in Lebanon.
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