- Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka could be put behind bars for two years and a half alongside a huge fine of 2.5 million yen and 170 million yen. He was arrested for insider trading allegations.
- The prosecutor has argued that Yuji Naka was undermining other investors by using his position to gain an advantage over the competition and gain illegal profits.
- The defense is seeking to reduce the huge fines, trying to argue that the popular game developer did not actively use insider trading information.
- Yuji Naka was arrested many times over similar claims in the past; he would purchase shares of companies before their games would be revealed to the public, to sell them for profits.
Sonic the Hedgehog series co-creator has reportedly been arrested and could receive a hefty prison term alongside a huge fine for insider trading allegations. Initially reported by the Japanese site Defaminicogamer, Yuji Naka could be locked behind bars for over two years after being charged with similar offenses last year in the last. He has been accused of and even admitted to buying shares of many companies in March of this year.
Yuji Naka’s defence are asking for a reduced fine and a suspended sentence. They say the insider information was sent to him by mistake. Yuji Naka also apologized. He has not been sentenced yet! That will come next month.
— Genki✨ (@Genki_JPN) June 1, 2023
During the trial, the prosecutor made the claim that Yuji Naka was undermining other investors by using his position, giving him significantly advantageous leverage over others. Thus, the Sonic co-creator obtained illegal profits, causing him to potentially land behind bars for over two years and a half. He has also been fined 2.5 million yen and 170 million yen, which converts to $17,920 and $1,218,730, respectively, at the time of writing.
On the other hand, the defense is trying to ask for a suspended sentence while also trying to reduce the massive fines. Yuji Naka’s defense has used the argument that he did not actively view insider trading information.
The insider trading allegations started to pop up last year at Square Enix, where he was first arrested with charges of buying thousands of shares for a company dubbed Aiming before the public reveal of its mobile project called Dragon Quest Tact. Similar situations occurred soon, with Yuji Naka being charged with buying shares of ATeam Entertainment before its mobile title was revealed. He was accused of knowing about the projects ahead of time.
The Sonic co-creator made a huge purchase of about 120,000 shares of ATeam Entertainment before the mobile project Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier was publically announced to the world. In all of these events, it was suspected that Naka wanted to sell the shares as soon as their value would grow after the game was revealed to the public, which also implied that he had knowledge of the unannounced projects before their reveals.
Hence, he worked with Square Enix from 2016 to 2021 until after the release of the famous failure, Balan Wonderland, which is exactly when his relationship with the giant conglomerate started to rot. He was then fired or quit on his own over claims that he was removed from the director’s role before the title launched. Regardless, he sued Square Enix with a lawsuit alongside a pinch of derogatory comments.
While initially, fans supported Yuji Naka over his version of the story; many gamers have started to realize the illegal operations of the renowned game developer in the last few months. It remains to be unseen whether Naka will serve the complete sentence or receive a reduced fine and a prison term. The final decision will be made on July 7th by the court.
Yuji Naka has had a long journey in the world of video games; from co-creating one of the most famous mascots in the world to starting a villain arc that possibly lands him in jail, Yuji’s life is full of wild albeit some illegal experiences. The creator has previously been arrested many a time over insider trading allegations, but now he has finally been reprimanded with a hefty fine and a potential sentence of over two years this time around.
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