‘Sonic’ co-creator Yuji Naka arrested again over ‘Final Fantasy’ insider trading

Naka reportedly spent over £860k on shares for the company set to create 'Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier'

Sonic The Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka has been arrested once again for alleged insider trading.

Last month, Naka was one of three people arrested after it was allegedly revealed that he purchased 10,000 shares in Aiming Co, before information about the company’s lucrative contract to help create a Dragon Quest mobile game had been made public.

Naka was employed at Square Enix at the time and reportedly spent 2.8million Yen (£17,000) on the shares.

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Now, it’s being reported that Naka has been arrested once again for yet more alleged insider trading. According to Asahi (via Kotaku) Naka allegedly purchased shares in ATeam Entertainment, just before it was made public in 2021 that it would be creating mobile game Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier. Naka is alleged to have paid over £860,000 for 120,000 shares in ATeam, though it’s not been reported if he sold them or not.

Naka was reportedly arrested alongside another former Square Enix employee Taisuke Sasaki, who was also arrested over inside trading last month.

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier
Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier. Credit: Square Enix

Naka was the lead programmer on the original Sonic The Hedgehog series, which included 1991’s Sonic The Hedgehog, 1992’s Sonic The Hedgehog 2 and 1994’s Sonic The Hedgehog 3. He left Sega in 2006, before joining Square Enix. He sued Square Enix earlier this year after the company removed him as the producer of Balan Wonderworld, claiming Square Enix “don’t value games or game fans.”

Following the allegations last month, Square Enix released a statement saying it will “fully cooperate with the investigation to clarify the facts.”

“We deeply regret that this situation has caused everyone concerned great concern. We are taking strict measures against this incident, including disciplinary action against the former employee,” it continued.

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Square Enix added: “We have strictly established a system to prevent insider trading, such as prohibition, and have worked to ensure thorough awareness through internal training. At the same time, we will further strengthen our in-house training and make company-wide efforts to prevent recurrence.”

In other news, the director of 2019’s Days Gone has blamed “woke reviewers” for the poor reception to the open-world, action-adventure game.

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