Yuji Naka, one of the creators of Sonic the Hedgehog, has been sentenced to two and a half years for insider trading. However, he can avoid prison if he complies with the conditions of probation.
Yuji Naka (Image source: @nakayuji)
According to Jiji Press, the Tokyo District Court ruled that Naka had violated Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. The game developer will be on probation for four years.
Judge Madoka Hiruta noted that Naka “showed an attitude of remorse”, and that this was the reason for a suspended prison sentence. However, he will have to serve a 30-month sentence if he violates the conditions or any other law within the next four years.
On top of that, Naka was fined ¥173 million ($1.2 million) for insider trading.
Yuji Naka was arrested last year, together with former Dragon Quest XI middleware manager Taisuke Sasaki. They learned in advance about the partnership between Square Enix and Ateam Inc. to developer a mobile spin-off to Final Fantasy VII titled The First Soldier.
Naka then purchased 120k shares in Ateam for ¥144.7 million ($1.05 million), and Sasaki purchased 91k shares for ¥105 million ($765k). This was prior to the game’s public announcement, so the two allegedly managed to earn hundreds of millions of yen off this transaction.
In March, Naka pleaded quilty to insider trading charges, saying that “there is no doubt” he was involved in the scheme. Last month, prosecutors demanded that the game developer be sentenced to two and a half years in prison, but his lawyers asked for a suspended sentence and reduced fine.