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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Minneapolis Man for Insider Trading Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A federal jury has convicted a Minneapolis man in an insider trading conspiracy involving nonpublic negotiations for the acquisition of a medical device company valued at $1.6 billion, announced First Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Bildtsen. 

According to evidence presented at trial, beginning in January 2018 through at least August 2020, Doron “Ron” Tavlin, 68, of Minneapolis, and Afshin “Alex” Farahan, 57, of Los Angeles, engaged in an insider trading conspiracy. The conspiracy involved nonpublic information about the acquisition of Mazor Robotics, an Israeli-based company that specialized in robotics for spinal procedures, by Medtronic, Inc., an Ireland-based medical device company that primarily operated from its executive headquarters in Minneapolis. Tavlin, while working as vice president of business development at Mazor Robotics, learned material, nonpublic information about Medtronic’s potential acquisition of his company. In violation of federal law and his duty to his former employer, Mazor Robotics, Tavlin tipped this information about the acquisition to his friend, Farahan, and instructed him to keep the information secret. Farahan knew that Medtronic’s imminent acquisition of Mazor would likely result in an increase in Mazor’s stock price. Farahan used the nonpublic information to quickly buy more than $1 million of Mazor stock throughout August and September 2018. The morning after the acquisition was announced, Farahan immediately sold all the stock he had purchased over the preceding weeks, which resulted in a combined profit of over $500,000 for himself and one other individual. According to evidence presented at trial, after the acquisition occurred, Tavlin learned that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) was investigating certain trades of Mazor securities that occurred prior to the publicly announced acquisition. As part of its inquiry, FINRA asked Tavlin, and other insiders who knew about the secret acquisition negotiations, whether he knew any of the parties who traded in Mazor securities leading up to the public announcement. In January 2019, Tavlin responded to FINRA’s inquiry by falsely denying that he recognized any names on a list of persons and entities that purchased Mazor securities, which included Farahan. 

According to evidence presented at trial, the insider trading conspiracy included an agreement between Tavlin and Farahan that Farahan would pay money to Tavlin in exchange for the material, nonpublic information. For example, in October 2019, Farahan gave Tavlin a $25,000 check in exchange for the information that Tavlin had provided about Mazor Robotics leading up to the acquisition. 

On February 16, 2024, following a nine-day trial before U.S. District Judge Donovan W. Frank, Tavlin was found guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit insider trading and ten counts of securities fraud and aiding and abetting securities fraud. Another defendant, David Jay Gantman, 58, of Mendota Heights, was found not guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit insider trading and six counts of securities fraud.

Farahan pleaded guilty on August 4, 2022, to one count of conspiracy to engage in insider trading. Sentencing hearings for both defendants will be scheduled at a later time.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew S. Ebert, Robert M. Lewis, and William C. Mattessich tried the case.

Updated February 21, 2024

Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud