"Daniel will continue to protect the children from any harm and any media exposure. Unfortunately Kelly has now added child abduction to extortion and false statements on her list of actions. Daniel will make sure that the children's safety and well being will be restored as soon as possible," the German businessman's attorney Fahi Takesh Hallin says in a statement.
"He is very concerned about the traumatic impact that Kelly's behavior will have on the children. Kelly was to have delivered the children in France to their father on August 7, 2015," Hallin adds. "Child abduction is a crime, and everyone involved in kidnapping or abducting the children will face the appropriate legal consequences. Anyone associating themselves with Kelly and her abduction is violating the law."
Son Hermes, 8, and daughter Helena, 6, spent the summer with their mother in New York but were supposed to return Thursday to Monaco, where they have lived with their father since a 2012 court order. The Gossip Girl actress has been fighting for a new custody hearing, but both California and New York family courts relinquished jurisdiction over the case.
So on Friday, Rutherford announced that she is refusing to return them to Giersch. Rutherford, 46, spoke to Good Morning America on Monday morning about her decision to defy the 2012 California court order.
"It's been very hard for the kids and I, it's been kind of cruel, in a way, because we just want to see each other and be together, and they're very young," she said. "It put me as a parent in an odd place, because if nobody's taking jurisdiction, how do you put your children on a plane to a foreign country not knowing what's going to happen?"
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Wendy Murphy, Rutherford's attorney, tells PEOPLE that Giersch should "do the right thing" and "protect the children from the trauma of needless litigation.
"It's curious that the children's father would make cruel threats and derogatory remarks rather than refusing to respond to the very simple statement we released last week explaining why the children are entitled to reside in their own country," Murphy says in a statement. "Mr. Giersch made an agreement with Kelly and the American courts in 2012 that the children would live abroad with him only temporarily while he resolved his U.S. work visa issues. He did nothing to address his visa problems, and three years is exceedingly not temporary."
"Instead of complying with his 2012 agreement, Giersch filed for sole custody in Monaco at the end of 2014 (no decision yet). He also refused to let Kelly see the children when she flew to Monaco for a visit this year unless she surrendered the children's U.S. passports, which no court had ordered her to do," Murphy adds. "Mr. Giersch purports to be interested in co-parenting but his actions belie a different agenda."