Naka and a former Square Enix employee were charged today for their previous alleged crimes
Following his arrest last month, Asahi and NHK reported tonight that Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka and two others were arrested again today, this time by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on suspicion of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, which deals with insider trading.
This time it is alleged that Naka and the two others purchased shares in Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier developer Ateam ahead of the announcement that the team would be working on the smartphone game, which is set to close in January 2023. The two learned about the partnership between Square Enix and Ateam as part of their work at Square Enix from September to December 2020, before the public announcement in February 2021.
Naka was infamously pushed out of Square Enix in April 2021 after being forced to step down from the role of game director for Balan Wonderworld six months before release, which flopped critically and commercially upon release in March 2021.
The prosecutors claim that Naka bought a total of 120,000 shares for around 144.7 million yen (US$1.05 million) with former employee at Square Enix, Taisuke Sasaki, buying 91,000 shares for around 105 million yen (US$763,000) and his acquaintance purchasing 10,000 shares for around 11.8 million yen (US$85,000). Prosecutors claim that Naka and Sasaki made hundreds of millions of yen in the deals.
Naka and Sasaki were arrested on November 18 on suspicion of the same crime, but with DRAGON QUEST TACT developer Aiming. They were both formally charged today with violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act by the special investigation unit for DRAGON QUEST TACT insider trading.
Daryl Harding is a Senior Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.