Yuji Naka, the game developer most famous for co-creating Sonic the Hedgehog, may receive a prison sentence of up to 2.5 years, and a fine of ¥172.5 million, for his role in an insider trading scheme at Square Enix, which allegedly violated Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.
Naka is accused of using insider knowledge of upcoming games to invest in their developers, gaining profit as their shares rose. Naka allegedly purchased ¥2.8 million (AU $30,000) worth of shares in Dragon Quest: Tact developer Aiming ahead of this game’s launch, and also invested in Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier developer, ATeam Entertainment.
Dual investigations led to two arrests for the prolific developer, as well as the arrests of former Square Enix employees, Taisuke Sazaki and Fumiaki Suzuki.
In March 2023, Naka reportedly admitted guilt in this act, telling a Japanese court there was ‘no doubt’ he had done as alleged. Now, the Abema Times reports the Tokyo District Court has demanded Naka serve prison time, and pay a fine for his actions.
The proposed ¥172.5 million fine and 2.5 year prison sentence are yet to be formally handed down, as Naka’s defence has requested a fine reduction and a suspended sentence – but they remain possibilities as the court continues to analyse the case.
A firm decision on Naka’s sentencing is reportedly expected on 7 July 2023.