Sonic Co-Creator Convicted Of Insider Trading, Faces More Than Two Years In Prison

The Sonic co-creator will hear the final verdict on July 7.


Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka has been formally sentenced to prison for insider trading, and is expected to serve two and a half years in jail. Additionally, Naka has received two fines, one of $17,800 and a supplementary penalty of $1.2 million. Naka's defense team is now aiming for his sentence to be suspended sentence and to have his fines lowered, as it claims that Naka "accidentally saw information that was extremely unrelated to [his] work," as reported by Japanese news site Abema Times (via VGC).

Final judgment for Naka is expected to arrive on July 7, and prosecutors claim that the Balan Wonderworld director has "showed no signs of remorse" for the crimes that he admitted to being guilty of. After reports of insider trading at Square Enix went public, Naka was first arrested in November 2022. He was accused of purchasing around $20,000 in shares in Aiming, a Japanese developer tasked with producing a Dragon Quest mobile game for Square Enix, before the studio's involvement was made public.

Naka would be re-arrested in December last year, as new allegations of him purchasing shares worth more than $1 million in mobile developer ATeam--before the studio's work on Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier was officially revealed-- surfaced. He'd later be formally charged for insider trading crimes, and he was accused of netting the equivalent of $146,000 from these sales. Several other former Square Enix employees were also accused of being involved in the scheme.

Naka originally joined Square Enix in 2018 and began work on Balan Wonderworld, but after the game was released to scathing reviews from critics and players alike, he'd later leave Square Enix in 2021 and then sued the company in 2022, as he claimed that the game was released in an unfinished state and that he'd been removed as director six months before it launched.

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