Eye doctor charged with arranging hit

He also outlined to Mr. Kultin that he held no personal animosity toward Dr. King, only toward Mr. Klock. On Nov. 7, the documents say, Mr. Kultin and Dr. Mockovak met, and the surgeon handed Mr. Kultin a folder containing $10,000 in $100 bills and a photo of Dr. King and his family, so the assassin would know who to target. All of this was promptly turned over to the federal agency as evidence. Dr. Mockovak was arrested five days later.

The National Post
November 18, 2009

Eye doctor charged with arranging hit
'Greedy Snake'
Laura Drake, Canwest News Service

ClearlyLasik(1).jpg

A Clearly Lasik eye surgery clinic in Victoria. Dr. Michael Mockovak, the cofounder of Clearly Lasik, is charged with criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder. Debra Brash, Canwest News Service

A prominent laser eye surgeon who operates clinics in Western Canada was the target of a murder-for-hire plot commissioned by his business partner and former brother-in-law, court documents allege.

Dr. Michael Mockovak has been arrested and charged with two counts of criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder. He is accused of trying to hire a Russian mobster to kill two people, including Dr. Joseph King, with whom he cofounded Clearly Lasik, an eye-surgery clinic with offices in Edmonton, Victoria, Vancouver and the northwestern United States.

According to documents filed in a Washington court, Dr. Mockovak and Dr. King were business partners and were once brothers-in-law, having married sisters. However, Dr. Mockovak and his wife divorced and a rift started to form between the two surgeons.

The case, details of which are outlined in court documents, came to light because the man Dr. Mockovak first contacted to try to find a hit man — a Russian immigrant who worked in IT for Clearly Lasik — went to the FBI after Dr. Mockovak asked him if he had any contacts in the Russian mob.

Dr. Mockovak approached the employee, Daniel Kultin, and asked if he had any contacts in the Russian mafia who might "resolve his problems" he was having with a former president of the company who had sued Clearly Lasik, the documents say.

That man was Vancouverite Brad Klock, a former hockey player who had been hired by Clearly Lasik to be the company president but was fired by Dr. Mockovak and Dr. King. Mr. Klock, in turn, sued the two men in January for breach of contract.

At first, Mr. Kultin told investigators, Dr. Mockovak seemed like he was joking, but he became increasingly serious and agitated whenever the lawsuit was brought up. By May 2009, Dr. Mockovak appeared so serious that Mr. Kultin took his concerns to the FBI, which later made him an official source.

Dr. Mockovak met with Mr. Kultin in August, and by then the man's anger had turned to his business partner, Dr. King. They were planning to split up the business this fall, he said, and he was not happy with the way things were shaking out for him.

"I hate people taking advantage of me, like Joe [King]. He is a greedy snake," the documents quote Dr. Mockovak as saying, going on to cite Dr. King as a second potential target.

The FBI fed Mr. Kultin a story to tell Dr. Mockovak: That he had a childhood friend who was an associate of a Russian crime group who could arrange a murder and have it covered up as a street crime. The quoted price was $10,000 up front and $10,000 upon completion.

Dr. Mockovak's alleged response was that Dr. King and his family had a vacation to Australia planned for November and that this would be the perfect time for the hit to be carried out. In a Nov. 6 conversation with Mr. Kultin recorded for the FBI, Dr. Mockovak discussed possible ways that Dr. King could be killed, but expressed concern that the body must be recovered so that he could cash in the multi-million-dollar insurance policy he held in Dr. King's name.

He also outlined to Mr. Kultin that he held no personal animosity toward Dr. King, only toward Mr. Klock.

On Nov. 7, the documents say, Mr. Kultin and Dr. Mockovak met, and the surgeon handed Mr. Kultin a folder containing $10,000 in $100 bills and a photo of Dr. King and his family, so the assassin would know who to target. All of this was promptly turned over to the federal agency as evidence. Dr. Mockovak was arrested five days later.

When investigators went to Dr. Mockovak's home that day, they found life insurance documents for Dr. King lying on the kitchen table, the documents say.

Dr. King and his family have since returned from Australia and are living in a Seattle hotel, where they fear for their safety. The surgeon is not doing interviews, but issued a short statement through a spokesman that said he was "shocked and horrified to learn that a business associate was allegedly planning and ordering my murder."

Clearly Lasik CEO Christian Monea issued a statement as well, saying that Dr. King continues to perform surgery.

"King has performed 50,000 procedures in his career and intends to perform another 50,000," he said.

Dr. Mockovak is in jail facing $3-million bail, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said.

He is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges today.

http://www.nationalpost.com/related/topics/story.html?id=2234601


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