Thomas and Richard Malkin == Widmore "agents"?

Rewatching 1x10 (Raised by Another) my thought was: the sudden changing of their mind about Claire could be caused by Widmore, somehow? Widmore has Thomas' painting in his office, so I think they had contacts... and Richard suddenly has 6.000$ cash and it does not seem to me he's a very rich man...

One big bug in this theory: if Widmore send Claire on the Island, why did he not take Oceanic 815 him too, if he wanted to return on The Island? So, I changed my mind: Thomas and Richard Malkin == Christian "agents"?

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