Yuji Naka, the co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog and director of Balan Wonderland, has been arrested on allegations of insider trading.
According to Fuji News Network (via The Verge), former Square Enix employee Taisuke Sazaki, who worked on both the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series, had obtained information that Square Enix and Aiming would be developing Dragon Quest Tact. Sazaki learned of this prior to the announcement of the game (which was publicly revealed on February 5th), and with another former Square Enix employee Fumiaki Suzuki, they allegedly purchased 162,000 shares in Aiming. These shares were purchased December 2019 and February 2020 for around 47.2 million yen (roughly $336,760). FNN reports Naka was also aware of the Aiming deal, allegedly, and purchased 10,000 shares for about 2.8 million yen (approximately $20,000) prior to the game announcement.
Naka was developing Balan Wonderworld with Square Enix at the time. All three, Sazaki, Suzuki, and Naka were charged with insider trading. Square Enix provided a statement, saying, “As the investigation by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is underway, we will continue to fully cooperate with their investigation.
“We deeply regret the great concern this has caused to all concerned. We have dealt with this incident strictly, including internal disciplinary actions taken against the suspected employees.”