Loved ones of Adam Whittington – the man who orchestrated the operation to grab Sally Faulkner‘s young children from a Beirut sidewalk – have approached the Nine Network to pay US$500,000 to Ali Elamine for his release.
According to The Australian, Mr Elamine has told authorities he will not drop the kidnapping charges against Mr Whittington and his three associates until he receives the hefty pay out.
It’s a sum that’s equal to AUD$667,000.
It is understood that the four men currently detained in a prison, namely Mr Whittington, British Cypriot Craig Michael, driver Khaled Barbour and Lebanese fixer Mohammed Hamza, will all be released on bail if the payment is provided. The men's stay in the overcrowded Baabda facility will reach one month tomorrow.
The families are incapable of meeting Mr Elamine's steep financial demands to set them free.
Mr Whittington's mother, Georgina, told the television network she did not have "that type of money" last night. A pensioner living on the Gold Coast, she is desperate but frustratingly unable to help her son return home.
“Please, please, Channel Nine help us. Bring Adam home. It was their fault, it went wrong. They can’t just put the blame on Adam,” she told The Australian. “I feel it is their (Nine’s) responsibility.”
A Nine spokeswoman refused the publication's opportunity to comment.
Watch Sally Faulkner's reunion with her family after the Beirut controversy below (post continues after video).
When Nine secured the release of Tara Brown and the three other 60 Minutes crew members with a payment of US$500,000 last month, they left behind Whittington, Michael, Barbour and Hamza.
The mens' chances of walking free are slimmed given the growing legal tensions between the estranged Mr Elamine and Ms Faulkner. Evidence that Ms Faulkner has unfairly been blocked from communicating with her children since leaving Lebanon was provided to the judge Rami Abdullah last night. Citing this, the judge agreed to suspend a condition in the original deal that Ms Faulkner would not have to hand over the children's passports to Mr Elamine.
If the judge recommends that the 60 Minutes crew, the child abduction team and Ms Faulkner should face formal charges, they will be trialled criminally.
Because the court considers Ms Faulkner's case as a family custody matter, it is likely she would receive a lighter punishment.