Sonic creator Yuji Naka sentenced to two and a half years in prison
According to Denfanminicogamer.jp, Sonic creator Yuji Naka has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison, along with fines of ¥2.5 million ($18 thousand) and ¥17 million ($1.2 million) in two separate cases of insider trading.
Naka was initially arrested in November for his involvement in insider trading and pleaded guilty in March. He was accused of purchasing stock in two developers who had secured contracts for undisclosed games based on popular intellectual properties, with the intention of selling the stock at a later date for a higher price. One of these developers, ATeam Entertainment, eventually released Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier, a mobile spinoff of the bestselling Final Fantasy series.
He faced a second arrest in a separate case related to insider trading concerning the mobile game Dragon Quest Tact. In this instance, Naka had acquired 10,000 shares in the developer Aiming. At the time of these offenses, Naka was employed by the Japanese gaming giant Square Enix, which co-developed both games.
Taisuke Sasaki, the middleware manager for Dragon Quest 11, was also arrested in connection with both cases, while Mumiaki Suzuki, the event manager for Dragon Quest 10, was arrested during the latter case.
Naka's defense team is seeking a suspended sentence, which would allow him to avoid prison as long as he adheres to certain conditions and restrictions imposed by the court. They are also requesting a reduction in the fines, arguing that Naka did not actively seek insider information. However, the prosecution contends that he gained unfair profits from an advantageous position and compromised the fairness of the market.
During the sentencing, Naka acknowledged, "There is no doubt that I knew the facts about the game[s] before it was made public and bought the stock," as reported by The Gamer.
Earlier this year, Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier was shut down due to not meeting Square Enix's expectations.