The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office reportedly detained Yuji Naka recently. This week, a case that seems to include insider trading has been making rounds, and it appears that Naka is involved in it.
Asahi: Tokyo District Public Prosecutor's Office re-arrested former Square Enix employees, including Yuji Naka, this time for alleged insider trading related to Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier.https://t.co/84VZlTAu3s
— Takashi Mochizuki (@6d6f636869) December 7, 2022
Sonic the Hedgehog‘s creator, Yuji Naka, was reportedly arrested on charges of insider training only three weeks ago. According to recent reports, he has been jailed once again on similar allegations, this time involving stocks bought before the 2021 reveal of Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier.
Yuji Naka, whose name is associated with some of Japan‘s most iconic video game franchises of the last 30 years may be in serious legal trouble. He was a part of the development of the very first games in the Sonic series and went on to later head the team. After leaving SEGA in 2006, Naka formed the company Prope and then joined Square Enix in 2018. He is someone who elevated Sonic from a high school notebook doodle to a global gaming icon.
Yuji was arrested in November, along with others, suspected of purchasing shares in game developer, Aiming Co. right before the 2020 official reveal that the studio will develop the game, Dragon Quest Tact. Two of Naka’s coworkers at the firm, Fumiaki Suzuki and Taisuke Sasaki, were aware that Aiming had secured a lucrative Dragon Quest deal with Square Enix. As a result of their inside knowledge, they reportedly profited somewhere in the range of $335,000 USD.
According to reports, Naka used the intel to buy about 10,000 shares of the independent studio and then unload them for around $20,000. (Dragon Quest Tact was announced at the beginning of 2020 and released in Japan in the middle of that year. Sasaki and Suzuki, at the time both working for Square Enix, had both contributed to the creation of Dragon Quest X and XI).
This time, Naka reportedly spent $144.7 million yen ($1,051,000) to acquire around 120,000 shares and made tens or hundreds of millions of yen in profit. He and his former Square Enix colleague, Taisuke Sasaki have been accused of breaking the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, but the outcome of the investigation has not been made public.
Before its mobile release in November of last year, Square Enix announced in February that they will be working with Ateam to develop Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier. Then, less than a year later, it was revealed that they will shut down the game, apparently due to poor reception from the public.
Whatever, the reason may be, the claims against Naka are strong, given his history with the same offence. It remains to be seen how everything turns out, since there have been no formal statements from either companies. As new information becomes available, we will keep you informed of any developments as they occur. Till then, let us know in the comments what you think of this offense.