Sonic The Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka was among three people arrested this week for alleged insider trading.
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While employed at Square Enix, Naka is alleged to have purchased 10,000 shares in Aiming Co after it had signed a lucrative contract to help create a Dragon Quest mobile game, before that information had been made public. Naka reportedly spent 2.8million Yen (£17,000) on the shares, but it has not been disclosed whether Naka sold them or not.
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 producer of Balan Wonderworld, before claiming Square Enix “don’t value games or game fans.”
Naka was arrested by Tokyo prosecutors this morning (November 18) following the arrests of former Square Enix employees Taisuke Sazaki, and Fumiaki Suzuki. According to PC Gamer, the two men have technical production credits and special thanks on a number of high-profile Square Enix games, including Dragon Quest 11, Final Fantasy 14, and NieR Automata.
It’s been reported that the pair were allegedly aware of Aming Co’s collaboration with Square Enix on Dragon Quest Tact through internal sources when they purchased 47 million yen (£282,000) worth of Aming Co stock.
Following the arrests, 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.
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.”