Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka sentenced to over two years in prison for insider trading
Yuji Naka, the co-creator of Sega’s most famous franchise, has been sentenced and fined after admitting to being involved in insider trading at Square Enix.
- Yuji Naka was sentenced to two years and six months in prison on June 1 after a third hearing at the Tokyo District Court (via denfaminicogamer.jp). He also received two fines of ¥2.5 million and ¥170 million. In March 2023, Naka admitted to insider trading, stating that there was "no doubt that I found out about the games before they were made public and bought shares in them," after making hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Naka was arrested on suspicion of insider trading in November 2022, along with former Square Enix employees Taisuke Sazaki and Fumiaki Suzuki, after all three had purchased stocks in developer Aiming, just before it was announced that the studio was working on a new Dragon Quest title. After purchasing shares in ATeam Entertainment prior to the public announcement of Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier, Naka and Sazaki were arrested a second time a month later for similar reasons.
- He began his career at Sega in 1984 as the lead programmer on the original Sonic the Hedgehog as well as a producer for other notable titles such as Phantasy Star Online until his departure in 2006. He later founded Prope before joining Square Enix to direct Balan Wonderworld, which was a commercial and critical failure upon its release in 2021. In 2022, Naka sued Square Enix, claiming that he was fired as the project's director six months before its release due to "disagreements over its stability.”
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