On 18th November 2022, the co-creator of the popular video game franchise Sonic, and the mind behind Balan Wonderworld, Yuji Naka, was arrested by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors. As reported by Fuji News Network Inc., Yuji Naka was arrested "in connection with an insider trading case" involving development information for a new installment of the popular video game franchise, Dragon Quest.
According to the special investigation unit, the 57-year-old suspect was an employee of the major game development company Square Enix. Yuji Naka reportedly joined Square Enix in late January 2020, when it and another video game company named Aiming were developing the Dragon Quest game.
Yuji Naka reportedly found important information about the development of a new game in the franchise, specifically for a mobile title called Dragon Quest Tact, before leaving Square Enix for another position.
Yuji Naka was suspected of buying "10,000 shares of Aiming" before Dragon Quest Tact was announced, equating to 2.8 million Yen. Yuji Naka was subsequently arrested for insider trading due to the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act after reportedly buying company shares. Followingly, it seems Naka hoped to illegally profit from Aiming's stock price increase following an official announcement of Dragon Quest Tact in 2020.
The video game creator was one of three individuals investigated under suspicion of insider trading. The other two suspects were 38-year-old Taisuke Sasaki, a former Square Enix Employee, and 40-year-old Fumiaki Suzuki, an acquaintance; both were arrested on 17th November 2022 for insider trading. Sasaki and Suzuki were suspected of purchasing 162,000 shares of Aiming, equating to a whopping 47.2 million Yen.
As of writing, it's unclear if all three individuals, including the famous Yuji Naka, had sold their shares in Aiming. All parties remain under investigation. On the contrary, Square Enix has released an official statement on its Japanese website. Note that this statement was translated into English, so translations might not be accurate compared to the official Japanese notice.
Square Enix stated, "To date, we have fully cooperated with the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission's investigation into this incident. Currently, an investigation by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is underway, and we will fully cooperate with the investigation to clarify the facts. We sincerely regret that this situation has caused great concern to everyone involved. We are taking strict measures against this incident, including disciplinary action against the former employee."
Regarding Yuji Naka's current legal state, the only known information is that the video game creator is under investigation. If more information becomes apparent, we'll update this article duly.
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Featured image courtesy of Square Enix and Twitter via Yuji Naka.