By Matt Brown.
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.
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.