Both Yuji Naka and Taisuke Sazaki have been arrested twice in recent weeks on suspicions of insider trading and have now been formally indicted. Naka and Sazaki have been charged with insider trading for illegally profiting from their knowledge of upcoming Square Enix titles.
According to the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, Yuji Naka was in possession of sensitive information regarding Square Enix’s collaboration with ATeam Entertainment on Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier. With this knowledge, Naka would be able to make a calculated decision to sell stock once its price increased as a result of the announcement of the game.
NHK reports that Yuji Naka, with this knowledge, made a purchase of ATeam stock worth approximately $144.7 million JPY ($834,000 USD) before the announcement of the game. Even more so, Taisuke Sasaki spent about $787,000 for the same reason. Whether or not both suspects will face trial is currently unknown.
In the past, it was revealed that Naka had been arrested in November 2022 for suspected insider trading while employed by Square Enix. According to rumors, he put down around $20,000 to back a startup developing a mobile game based on a Square Enix IP (specifically, Dragon Quest). The initial arrest apparently didn’t have lasting repercussions, as he was released (likely on bail) soon after. However, Naka was arrested once again only a few weeks later.
Naka has been indicted, which means he has been formally charged with insider trading and may face severe punishment, including a hefty fine or even jail time. Naka allegedly had “confidential information that Square had planned to develop a Final Fantasy spin-off,” as stated by sources in Tokyo. Compared to the first allegation, Naka stands to suffer much more severe repercussions as a result of the potentially enormous profit he could have made from the ATeam investment.