Yuji Naka
Image: via Twitter (@nakayuji)

Update [Wed 28th Dec, 2022 12:15 GMT]:

Following on from the arrests of Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka and former Square Enix employee Taisuke Sazaki, the two have now been formally indicted over alleged insider trading offenses.

As reported by NHK (thanks, VGC), the two were charged for conducting insider trading and investing in companies based on information that had not yet been made publically available. Naka had reportedly invested approximately ¥144.7 million yen ($834,000) in ATeam Entertainment, knowing that the value would rapidly rise once news that development of Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier - which ATeam would work on in collaboration with Square Enix - would be made public.

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It's not known at this time whether Naka or Sazaki will stand trial, but we'll keep you informed of any major developments.

Update [Wed 7th Dec, 2022 12:30 GMT]:

Yuki Naka has reportedly been arrested again over potential insider trading, this time related to the mobile title Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier.

As reported by Asahi and VGC, Naka and former Square Enix developer Taisuke Sazaki were arrested for allegedly investing in 'ATeam Entertainment' based on non-public information related to Square-Enix's plans to work with the company.

Naka was apparently made aware of the upcoming development and launch of Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier prior to the information being made public, and as such invested around 120,000 shares in the company, totalling approximately ¥144.7 million yen ($834,000).

As always, if more developments arise, we shall let you know.

Original Article [Fri 18th Nov, 2022 03:05 GMT]:

Yuji Naka - the co-creator of Sonic and the more recent release Balan Wonderworld - has reportedly been arrested during an ongoing Square Enix insider trading investigation.

This follows the arrest of Square Enix employees Taisuke Sazaki and Fumiaki Suzuki, who allegedly acquired stock in Japanese game development company 'Aiming' prior to the announcement of its new Dragon Quest title on mobile, Dragon Quest Tact.

Sazaki and Suzuki supposedly purchased 47 million yen (about $336,300 USD) of stock in developer Aiming. Yuji Naka has also been accused of having insider information - purchasing 10,000 shares of Aiming stock for 2.8 million yen (roughly $20,000 USD) before the same announcement.

Square Enix has issued an official statement revealing it's working with authorities on the investigation and taking appropriate actions against the suspected employees:

“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."

Since the launch of Balan Wonderworld and his departure from Square Enix, Yuji Naka has been involved in a lawsuit case with the Japanese publisher and developer, after he was apparently removed from the game as the director "about half a year before release".

If we hear any developments, we'll let you know.

[source fnn.jp, via videogameschronicle.com]