Ex-Mazor Robotics exec convicted for insider trading on Medtronic acquisition

More than half a decade after Medtronic wrapped up its $1.6 billion buyout of Mazor Robotics, at least one former Mazor employee is still grappling with the aftermath of the deal.

Doron Tavlin, formerly Mazor’s VP of business development, was found guilty by a federal jury this month on several charges of insider trading and securities fraud related to the Medtronic acquisition, according to a release Tuesday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota.

After being charged in July 2022—following an FBI investigation—Tavlin has now been convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit insider trading, plus 10 counts of securities fraud and aiding and abetting securities fraud.

According to the Department of Justice, while holding a leadership role at Mazor, Tavlin learned—well before the information was made public—that Medtronic was circling a buyout of the company. He passed the tip off to a friend, Afshin Farahan, who proceeded to buy up more than $1 million worth of Mazor stock between August and September of 2018.

The day after Medtronic’s deal to acquire Mazor was made public later that September, Farahan sold off all the shares he’d gathered, reportedly raking in profits of more than $500,000 for himself and another associate.

Meanwhile, along with breaking federal antifraud laws by passing on the tip, per the DOJ, Tavlin also accepted a $25,000 check from Farahan in October 2019 as part of an agreement in exchange for the information.

Additionally, during an investigation by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) into certain Mazor securities trading conducted in the weeks ahead of the acquisition announcement, Tavlin in early 2019 denied knowing any of the names on a list that included Farahan.

While Tavlin’s case ultimately went to trial, resulting in the conviction this month, Farahan pleaded guilty in August 2022 to one count of conspiracy to engage in insider trading. They’re both now awaiting sentencing hearings.

Tavlin wasn’t the only Mazor executive to get wrapped up in alleged insider trading around the company’s collaboration with Medtronic.

Before the medtech giant snapped up all of Mazor in late 2018, the duo had inked multiple distribution deals allowing Medtronic to sell Mazor’s robotic surgical guidance systems in the U.S. and globally. Mazor disclosed in its 2017 annual report that CEO Ori Hadomi had been investigated by the Israel Securities Authority earlier that year for allegedly telling associates about the U.S. deal before it went public, which inspired them to buy up Mazor shares—though the company said that Hadomi hadn’t undergone any further questioning after an initial raid and interrogation.