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Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka handed suspended sentence and fined $1.1 million for insider trading

Naka's two-and-a-half year prison sentence will be suspended for four years.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

July 7, 2023

1 Min Read
A photograph of Yuji Naka

Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka has been handed a suspended prison sentence and fined over $1.1 million after being found guilty of insider trading.

As reported by IGN Japan (via IGN), the veteran developer was found to have violated Japan's Financial Instruments and Exchange Act for insider trading during his time at Square Enix.

Naka was accused of spending 2.8 million yen to purchase 10,000 shares in Aiming after learning the studio would be working with Square Enix on Dragon Quest Tact before the partnership was made public.

He was also alleged to have invested over 144.7 million yen into Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier developer Ateam before the project was officially announced.

After finding Naka guilty of insider trading, Judge Madoka Hiruta issued a two-and-a-half year prison sentence that will be suspended for four years. Naka was also handed two fines of 2 million yen ($14,000) and 170 million yen ($1.1 million).

Hiruta said Naka had "damaged the fairness and soundness of the stock market" and eroded the "trust of investors." They also noted that Naka "was known as one of the world's most famous game developers, and had the authority to access joint development information."

Naka left Square Enix in April 2021 after his latest release, Balan Wonderworld, failed to win over critics. At the time, Naka indicated he may retire from game development outright, and claimed he wasn't able to discuss the reasons for his departure.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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