Sound designer Yuji Naka and two others have been caught up in a Square Enix insider trading scandal

Briefly: Authorities in Japan have arrested three people in the past 24 hours on charges of insider trading. At least two of them were former employees of video game giant Square Enix, including legendary former studio head of Sonic Team Yuji Naka. The fee stems from trading shares of a small development company called Aiming.

In September 2020, Square Enix announce Dragon Quest mobile game titled Dragon Quest Tact. The name of a small, relatively unknown studio Aims He was working on the project. Some employees within Square Enix had heard that this developer was working on a new entry for the beloved DQ franchise before the announcement and had bought large amounts of stock in the company.

According to Japanese news outlet FFN, the Tokyo authorities Arrested Taisuke Sazaki on Thursday evening accused of insider trading. Sazaki, who has worked on such franchises as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, purchased 27.2 million yen (US$194,000) worth of shares in Aiming between December 2019 and February 2020. Authorities claim the purchase came about after Sazaki learned details of the Dragon Quest project.

Sazaki’s friend, Fumiaki Suzuki, faces similar charges. He allegedly entered into a 162,000 share purchase of Sazaki’s stock, making him a co-conspirator.

Tokyo police have arrested a third suspect – Yuri Naka. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Naka was one of the co-creators of the original Sonic the Hedgehog game and later head of the studio in charge of the series, Sonic Team. His resume also includes work on such popular games as Phantasy Star I&II, Nights into Dreams and Ghouls ‘n Ghosts.

Recently, he has served as the director of the Balan Wonderworld platform. That game fizzled, naka the left Square Enix. in April 2020 lawsuit the publisher, claiming that it was wrongfully fired from the project over disagreements over the game’s stability six months prior to its release and subsequent failure.

Police allege that Naka knew about the Aiming deal before it was announced and bought 10,000 shares in the company worth 2.8 million yen (US$20,000). The authorities accused him of violating the Japan Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.

Police did not say if any of the suspects sold their stock for profit. Square Enix has not commented on the situation.

Image credit: Yves Teneven

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