Sonic the Hedgehog cocreator and former head Sonic Team Yuji Naga has been arrested as part of an investigation into insider trading. FNN Prime Online, a Japanese site, reported the news.
Tokyo police arrested Naka, 57, on suspicion of purchasing shares in Aiming just before the company announced the development and launch of Dragon Quest Tact Mobile Game. Investigators say that Naka bought 10000 shares of Aiming just before the announcement. He was a Square Enix employee at the time and worked on the Balan Wonderworld game platformer. It is believed that the game designer obtained insider information in order to plan to sell the shares once they have increased in value. He could have received significant compensation due to Dragon Quest’s popularity in Japan.
Tokyo police arrested two other Square Enix former employees on November 17. They were Taisuke Suzuki and Fumiaki Suzuki. They worked on NieR: Automata, Final Fantasy XIV and Dragon Quest XI. They were said to have purchased shares in Aiming valued at approximately 47 million Japanese yen (21,000,000 rubles).
Square Enix issued an official statement confirming that Naka, along with other detained employees, worked for the company. “willingness to cooperate fully with the authorities to ascertain the facts”.
“Today, some media reported that former employees of Square Enix are under investigation for suspicion of insider trading in stocks, — stated in the publication on the company’s website. — We fully cooperate with the Securities and Exchange Commission and we will continue to support the investigation as the Tokyo District Attorney’s Office investigates. We regret deeply that this incident has been a source of concern for all parties. We took this matter seriously and have taken disciplinary actions against the suspect ex-employees.”.
Square Enix also announced that it has created an insider trading system. This includes the obligation to announce the sale of shares, and prohibit transactions with securities of partner companies.