Ex-Sonic head Yuji Naka admits to insider trading at Square Enix

In his first trial at the Tokyo District Court, Yuji Naka reportedly confessed to doing insider trading while at Square Enix. 

Per a (translated) post from the NHK, the co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog said there was “no doubt that I knew the facts about the game before it was made public and bought the stock.” 

Naka was arrested by Japanese authorities in November 2022 as part of a larger insider trading scandal at his former employer. He and two other ex-Square staffers were arrested back then, and he was arrested a second time before later being indicted by Tokyo’s Public Prosecutor’s Office. 

It was determined that Naka was aware of Square’s intent to reveal Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier in 2020, and he used that knowledge to buy stock ahead of the game’s reveal, when stocks typically rise. He reportedly invested 144.7 million yen (or $834,000).

Similarly, it’s alleged that he also knew that mobile developer Aiming was creating Dragon Quest Tact with Square Enix, and purchased 10,000 shares equating to 2.8 million yen ($20,000).

At the time both games were being developed and announced, Naka was directing Balan Wonderworld, the first project from his studio Balan Company. A month after the game’s launch and commercial underperformance, Naka departed the company.

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