Police arrest Sonic creator Yuki Nada on another charge of insider trading

WTF?! When someone in the company makes money on successful stock trading, you can write it off as luck. When this happens twice, something starts to smell like fish. When more than one person has won in both cases, it might be time to start looking into how a few people got so lucky.

It appears that the police have again arrested Sonic the Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka. The former head of Sonic Team was arrested in November on charges of insider trading related to the mobile game Dragon Quest Tact for Android and iOS. According to the Japanese news agency Asahi, the police with a collar Naka again on similar but separate charges.

Naka’s latest arrest is related to his involvement in the purchase of shares in mobile game developer ATeam. Authorities alleged that Naka bought 120,000 ATeam shares for 144.7 million yen, or just over US$1 million. The purchase itself is not illegal. However, the time was suspiciously close to Square Enix’s 2021 announcement that ATeam would lead production on the then-upcoming FFVII spin-off titled “Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier” for android as well as iOS.

The police also arrested Taisuke Sasaki on the same suspicions. Sasaki was one of three suspects, including Naku, who was arrested last month in connection with the Dragon Quest insider trading scandal. He allegedly bought about 10,000 ATeam shares worth 11.8 million yen, or approximately US$86,000.

It’s not clear if the stock purchases took place while the men were still working at Square Enix. A previous accusation of insider trading was their involvement shortly before or just after Naka left the publisher in 2020. Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier was announced in February 2021 and released in November of that year. However, there seems to be a pattern of random stock purchases.

Sasaki’s resume at Square Enix includes work on Kingdom Hearts III, Dragon Quest XI, and NieR: Automata. Naka has a long history in the gaming industry, most recently with Square Enix’s failed Balen World. However, he is better known for designing the Sonic the Hedgehog character and being involved in the creation of the titular Sega franchise.

The men are accused of violating Japanese law. Law on Financial Instruments and Exchanges. Authorities claimed that Naka and Sasaki received hundreds of thousands of yen from illegal transactions. Asahi did not mention whether the two were released on bail, or any other legal details such as trial dates or possible penalties if found guilty.

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