American eye surgeon found guilty of attempting to kill ex-partner

A Washington surgeon was convicted Thursday of attempting to hire a hit man to kill his former Saanich-based business partner, a U.S. judge ruled last week. Michael Mockovak was found guilty of criminal solicitation to commit murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Mockovak had asked an employee of Clearly Lasik, a company he co-founded in Washington, to set him up with a hit man to kill business partner Joseph King, who sometimes works out of the Victoria Corneal Laser Centre in Saanich, and Brad Klock, the company’s former president.

King studied medicine at University of British Columbia and completed post-graduate and surgical internships in Victoria. Klock is a native of Port Alberni.

“My colleagues, my family and I are relieved to put this sad episode behind us,” King said in a written statement.

In 2009, Mockovak reached out to Daniel Kultin, a recent Russian immigrant to the U.S., hoping the employee would connect him with a Russian mobster who could kill Mockovak’s partners following a dispute over ownership of the company.

Kultin immediately contacted the FBI and became an informant on the case. According to court documents, Mockovak planned to pay the assassin $25,000, while Kultin would earn $100,000 for putting the plan together.

Mockovak supplied a photo of King and his family to Kultin, and provided him with details about King’s vacation travel and exercise habits. He also discussed how he wanted the murder to take place, and gave details about the life-insurance policy on King.

Klock started legal action after being terminated from his position at Clearly Lasik in January 2009. Court documents state that Klock’s ongoing dispute played a major role in Mockovak wanting him “eliminated.”

Defence lawyers argued throughout Mockovak’s two-week trial that the whole thing was just a joke, and that he was a victim of entrapment.

Sentencing is expected Feb. 17.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

– with files from the Bellevue Reporter

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