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Former business VP charged with insider trading, securities fraud in $1.6 billion buyout of Mazor by Medtronic

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | February 29, 2024
Business Affairs
A former VP of business development at Mazor Robotics has been found guilty of insider trading and securities fraud.
A former division vice president for Mazor Robotics has been found guilty of insider trading and securities fraud for disclosing nonpublic information about the $1.6 billion sale of his company to Medtronic in September 2018 before the deal was publicly announced.

Following a nine-day trial, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank charged Doron Tavlin, of Minneapolis, a former vice president of business development for Mazor, with one count of conspiracy to commit insider trading and ten counts of securities fraud and aiding and abetting securities fraud that took place from January 2018 through at least August 2020.

Tavlin worked at Mazor, an Israeli-based company that designed robotic solutions for spinal procedures, between 2017 and 2019, and was previously a consultant for the ventures and corporate development team at Medtronic, an Irish-based company with its executive headquarters in Minneapolis.

During his time at Mazor, he learned that Medtronic was planning a buyout of his company, and disclosed the information before it was public to Afshin Farahan, who ran a rug business in Minneapolis. Farahan then bought over $1 million of Mazor stock in August and September 2018 and sold it off for a profit of $500,000 for himself and another individual the morning after the deal was announced.

In a statement, Medtronic told HCB News that it did not have anything to share as it was "not the focus of the investigation."

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) launched an investigation into certain trades of Mazor securities that took place before the deal was announced and questioned Tavlin if he knew any individual or organization that purchased Mazor stock. Tavlin falsely denied knowing anyone on FINRA’s list of persons and entities that purchased stock, which included Farahan.

Evidence during the trial also showed that Tavlin benefitted financially from Farahan’s actions, having received a $25,000 check as part of an agreement between the two that Farahan would pay Tavlin in exchange for the material, nonpublic information.

He pled guilty in August 2022 to one count of conspiracy to engage in insider trading. Both he and Farahan are scheduled to be sentenced at a later time. Another defendant during the trial, David Jay Gantman, was found not guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit insider trading and six counts of securities fraud.

The case was the result of an FBI investigation.

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