A Hamilton man with a warrant out for his arrest has spent the past nine months locked inside a notorious Singapore prison.

Richard Whitham was accused of theft over his alleged use of $1.7 million against the instructions of the financial services firm he worked for.

An arrest warrant was issued in June 2018 after he failed to appear in the Hamilton District Court on a charge of theft by a person in a special relationship.

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Court documents alleged Whitham had control of US$1.2m ($1.7m) under the requirements of Hamilton financial services provider Worldclear, where he worked.

Police alleged Whitham intentionally dealt with that money "otherwise than in accordance with those requirements and thereby committed theft".

And for the past nine months, the 40-year-old has been stuck inside Changi Prison, Stuff reports.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs this afternoon confirmed the New Zealand High Commission in Singapore was aware of Whitham's detention.

However, due to privacy reason no further information could be provided, a spokesperson told the Herald.

Whitham's wife, Erika, told Stuff the New Zealand Government wanted nothing to do with her husband as he had arrived in Singapore on an Australian passport.

Neither Whitham nor a representative of the company was in court to challenge the application for the freezing order and interim liquidation in 2018.

Whitham told the Herald at the time he denied the allegations Worldclear had made in the separate civil case.


Worldclear alleged in the High Court civil case that a company which Whitham directed, T1 Holdings, owed it at least $4m.

Worldclear, in that application to appoint interim liquidators, said it employed Whitham to help build rapport with local trading banks.

When the approach failed, Worldclear changed tack and after discussions with Whitham, decided to form a new company, T1 Holdings.

This firm would open bank accounts and conduct financial transactions on Worldclear's behalf.

Over the following months, Worldclear paid money into T1 bank accounts and instructed Whitham to process financial transactions from the accounts on behalf of Worldclear.

Whitham, according to its director David Hillary, also set up several Worldclear staff as users of the T1 accounts so they would have access.

By May 17 this year, T1 had 26 bank accounts with a total of $4.61m in them, Worldclear said.

According to Worldclear, Whitham was in the office on that day processing payments but said he needed to leave early to deal with a personal matter and did not expect to be back the following day.

After later receiving no response to subsequent messages, Hillary said he called the banks and was informed that the administrator of the accounts, Whitham, had removed Worldclear staff as users.

Hillary told the court he believed Whitham had left the country and remaining funds in T1's accounts could be in jeopardy.

Whitham told the Herald in 2018 he had not taken any money and was on a planned holiday which Hillary knew about.

"[Hillary] tried to contact me once to say 'where are you' but he knew exactly where I was, and next thing we knew our accounts were frozen," Whitham said.