Faulkner doesn’t blame 60 Minutes: lawyer

Sally Faulkner’s lawyer says his freed client doesn’t blame the 60 Minutes crew for her imprisonment over the botched abduction of her children in Lebanon.


The Brisbane mother and the TV crew on Wednesday walked free from the Beirut jail where they had spent 14 days behind bars, after Ms Faulkner’s estranged husband Ali Elamine dropped the kidnapping charges against her and the media team.

Her lawyer, Ghassan Moghabghab, told Seven Network Ms Faulkner does not hold the Nine Network or the crew – journalist Tara Brown, producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williamson and sound recordist David Ballment – responsible.

“No, not at all. Because, they helped her in a way or another to pay the company who issue the action in Beirut,” he said.

“They wanted to get the scoop and they paid everything to help Sally try to reach her children.

“If she wants to blame somebody, I think she should blame the company that made up the job. It was an unprofessional job.”

Two members of the child recovery agency hired for the job are still in jail facing charges over the street abduction.

Joe Karam, the lawyer for Adam Whittington, has promised to release receipts showing Nine directly paid the agency for the kidnapping operation.

The station has steadfastly refused to comment on speculation it funded the kidnapping, or confirmed reports it paid Mr Elamine millions in compensation as part of the release deal. Ms Faulkner has had to give up her custody rights.

Mr Moghabghab said he had no part in hashing out the finances of a deal and wasn’t aware if a payment had been made.

“I was negotiating with Ali Elamine. The agreement we have signed, there was no payment about that,” he said.

Contrasting reports have emerged about whether Mr Elamine was seeking payment.

Mr Elamine, who is reportedly from a prominent, wealthy family in Lebanon, had previously said monetary compensation held no appeal for him.

However high-profile Lebanese Australian doctor Jamal Rifi, who was asked by Nine to help broker negotiations with Mr Elamine, said he had asked for money a few days earlier.

“I honestly still don’t know if any money has changed hands or not,” he told Seven.

“But to my knowledge, a couple of days ago, he did ask for a sum of money.”

Mr Elamine dropped his personal case against the Australians, allowing them to be released on bail, but the state is still continuing its investigations.

The 60 Minutes crew flew out of Lebanon early on Thursday (AEST) although Ms Faulkner remains in Beirut for another day to visit the courtroom to see her children, Lahela, 5, and Noah, 3, and sort out custody arrangements, Mr Moghabghab said.