Sonic Co-Creator Faces Two Years in Prison for Insider Trading
It was recently reported that the Sonic co-creator and veteran of Square Enix, Yuji Naka, faces more than two years in prison and a hefty fine worth some $1.2 million for allegedly taking part in insider trading while working for Square Enix in Japan.
According to the Japanese publication, Denfaminicogamer, the Tokyo District Court handed down judgement today – which included the sizeable fine – but it won’t be until July 7th that the final verdict is locked in. This will allow Naka’s defence attorneys to seek a reduction of both the fines and the prison time.
That’ll Cost a Few Gold Rings
In November 2022, Yuji Naka was arrested under allegations of insider trading, following claims that he’d secured shares in a particular studio ahead of news surfacing that said studio was working on an all-new mobile game published by Square Enix.
It was a month later that Naka found himself back in the hands of the law, as once again, he was accused of insider trading after again purchasing shares in a studio shortly before the news went public that this studio was working with – you guessed it – Square Enix.
Ultimately, Naka – who was the lead programmer on the original Sonic the Hedgehog games back in the early 1990s – admitted that he had insider knowledge about the unannounced projects before he invested in the aforementioned studios. His defence is attempting to claim that he accidentally saw information regarding the projects and didn’t act deliberately.
From emerging as the Sonic co-creator and working on the series up until 2006 (and other titles like Phantasy Star Online), Naka left Sega to found his own development studio in the same year.
It’s a case of how far the mighty can fall, as after almost forty years in the industry, Naka’s malicious and deliberate acts have caught up with him. Reportedly, he showed ‘no remorse’ for his actions, which earned him a heftier fine in the Tokyo Court.
He’ll return to court on July 7th to face his final sentencing.