Paperwork suggesting the Nine Network paid nearly $70,000 to the team currently in a Lebanese jail facing child kidnap charges have emerged as the 60 Minutes crew and mother involved make their way home to Australia.
The five-member 60 Minutes crew, including host Tara Brown, along with mother Sally Faulkner were granted bail overnight following a fortnight in a Beirut prison. The Nine Network reportedly struck a deal with Faulkner’s estranged husband, Ali Elamine, to drop the charges, and Faulker agreed to relinquish custody of the two young children.
The Australians were due to arrive in Sydney last night.
The duo behind the botched kidnap attempt, Child Abduction Recovery International boss Adam Whittington and fellow Briton Craig Michael, are still in a prison in Beirut following their arrest on April 7 after grabbing the two children off the street, an incident filmed by the 60 Minutes crew.
Fairfax Media reports it has a receipt showing Nine paid $69,000 into an account titled IPCA Ltd on January 22 this year.
Fairfax cites a source saying the TV station did not realise it was paying the firm when the money was transferred into an account nominated by Faulkner.
A Nine spokesperson said the station would not comment on the latest details after CEO Hugh Marks announced a review into what happened this morning. The show’s former executive producer, Gerald Stone, will lead the review.