Eye surgeon guilty in murder-for-hire plot



A Washington state eye surgeon who co-owned the Clearly Lasik eye clinics in western Canada was found guilty Thursday of conspiring to murder his business partner.

A jury in Seattle found Dr. Michael Mockovak guilty of four of five charges, including attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder against Dr. Joseph King, his business partner and former brother-in-law.

"My colleagues, my family and I are relieved to put this sad episode behind us," King said in a written statement. "I would like to thank the law enforcement officials and prosecutors for all their work on this case."

Clearly Lasik is based in the Seattle area and operates laser surgery clinics in Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria as well as in Oregon, Idaho and Washington state.

Mockovak was accused of arranging to have Russian mobsters kill King and former company president Brad Klock. He was found not guilty of conspiring to murder Klock.

Klock, a former hockey player who lives in Vancouver, was suing the company for wrongful dismissal.

Prosecutors alleged that in 2008, Mockovak asked a Clearly Lasik employee of Russian descent if he knew of anyone in the Russian-American mafia who could help him "resolve his problems" with Klock's lawsuit.

The employee went to the FBI and became an informant to help with the investigation.

Prosecutors alleged King became a target in 2009. Mockovak wanted to split up Clearly Lasik that fall and was expecting to encounter problems with King.

They said Mockovak made arrangements with the informant to have King killed by a mobster on a family vacation to Australia, in order to get money from a multi-million dollar insurance policy.

Instead, Mockovak was arrested and charged in Nov. 2009. His lawyers said the informant employee pushed Mockovak into the plot, after he initially raised it as a joke.

Mockovak will be sentenced on March 17.

King, who graduated from medical school at the University of British Columbia, regularly performs surgeries at the three Canadian clinics.