Yuji Naka, Sonic Co-Creator, Arrested on Suspicions of Insider Trading

Image: Sega

Yuji Naka, the Japanese video game programmer, designer, and producer best known for his work at Sega and co-creating the company’s mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, has reportedly been arrested for insider trading.

The news comes from Japanese newspaper Mainichi, which reported this morning that the 57-year-old gaming icon was detained today “on suspicion of engaging in insider trading using unreleased information on the development of a smartphone game,” Dragon Quest Tact, a title from Square Enix and Aiming.

Naka’s arrest comes a day after two other men, former Square Enix worker Taisuke Sazaki, 38, and his acquaintance and company employee, Fumiaki Suzuki, 40, were charged with insider trading on suspicion of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.

From a Mainichi report:

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation unit specifically accuses Naka of purchasing 10,000 shares of Tokyo-based game creator Aiming Inc. for a total of some 2.8 million yen (approx. $20,000) in late January 2020, after learning that a new gaming title, “Dragon Quest Tact,” then being jointly developed by Square Enix and Aiming, was expected to be released soon before the information was made public. Aiming is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Growth Market.

Naka’s most recent credits include Shot2048 and Balan Wonderworld, a 2021 platform game developed by Arzest and Balan Company (and published by Square Enix) that centers on the eponymous magical being.

Naka’s previous projects include a long list of legendary Sega titles, including Phantasy Star, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Burning Rangers.

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