Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator, Yuji Naka, has been found guilty of insider trading by a Tokyo District Court.
Japanese news agency Jiji Press reported that Naka had violated Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, according to a Tokyo District Court, as he had bought shares based on inside information.
The judge that found Naka guilty dealt out two fines that accumulated to ¥173 million ($1.2 million) – a very substantial penalty. Along with the fine, there is also a potential for jail time, with the judge sentencing Naka to 30 months in prison, suspended for four years. Therefore, as long as Naka adheres to the conditions set by the order and refrains from violating any further laws, he can avoid prison time.
Yuji Naka was previously found guilty in June. Still, his defense argued for a suspended sentence, claiming that their client had accidentally seen information unrelated to his work. This has now been granted.
Naka was first arrested in November 2022. At the time he was working on Balan Wonderworld for Square Enix, Naka became aware of Dragon Quest Tact, a new mobile game that developer Aiming was working on. Naka reportedly bought around 10,000 shares of Aiming stock for an estimated amount of ¥2.8 million ($20,000). It was his intention to then sell these once the upcoming mobile game was announced and the stock value had increased.
After this, Naka was then arrested for a second time in December 2022 as he had carried out a similar offence of insider trading after learning that Square Enix was planning to make Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier with mobile developer ATeam Entertainment. According to reports, Naka accessed materials and minutes from investment meetings and subsequently bought 130,000 shares earning him a profit of more than ¥20 million ($146,000) upon their sale.
Subsequently, the Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator pled guilty in March, saying that there was “no doubt” that he took part in the insider trading scheme. It was reported that the co-creator showed “no remorse” (via Abema Times).
Yuji Naka is best known for his contribution to the Sonic The Hedgehog series, which has generated numerous titles such as Sonic Frontiers and Sonic Superstars. These are the best Sonic games for fans to browse.