Yuji Naka is one of several Square Enix employees arrested on suspicions of insider trading.
Yuji Naka

Co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog and the director of Balan Wonderworld, Yuji Naka, has been arrested on suspicion of insider trading. The news first seem to surface from Fuji News Network and later reported in English via sites like The Verge.

Former Square Enix employee Taisuke Sazaki found out that the Dragon Quest Tact mobile game was being created by developers at Square Enix and a company called Aiming. Sazaki and another former Square Enix employee, Fumiaki Suzuki, allegedly purchased 162,000 shares in Aiming. This occurred between December 2019 and February 2020. They spent about 47.2 million yen, or a bit over $336,000 (USD).

These stocks were purchased prior to the public announcement of the project on February 5, 2020.

Naka worked with Square Enix on Balan Wonderworld between 2018 and 2021. Due to being employed at Square Enix, Naka was also made aware of the deal with Aiming. He purchased 10,000 shares in Aiming for about 2.8 million yen, or around $20,000 (USD). His shares were also purchased before the project was publicly announced.

All three men have been arrested on charges of insider trading.

In an official statement, Square Enix says that they are "fully cooperating with requests from the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission." They continue, "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."

In addition to helping bring life to Sonic the Hedgehog and Balan Wonderworld, Naka co-founded Sonic Team at Sega and led that division for several years, plus he co-created Nights into Dreams and led development on several Phantasy Star titles.