Yuji Naka likely won't face prison time over his insider trading. Tokyo judge Madoka Hiruta has given the Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator a suspended 2.5-year prison sentence, deferred for four years, as well as two fines worth the equivalent of $1.1 million and $14,000. Naka's actions hurt the "fairness and soundness" of the stock market while wounding investors' trust, Hirtua says.
Naka pleaded guilty in March to violating Japan's Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. While working at Square Enix, he bought shares in the game studio Aiming before its partnership with on Dragon Quest Tact became public knowledge. He made about $150,000 in profit after selling his shares. The developer also faced insider trading charges for buying shares in Ateam, the developer of the short-lived mobile battle royale game Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier.
Two other former workers, Taisuke Sasaki and Fumiaki Suzuki, were also arrested for buying Aiming shares. Square Enix previously said it was cooperating with investigators and had instituted safeguards to prevent insider trading.
This kind of activity isn't new in the technology space. It's rare in the gaming world, however. and surprising when it involves a successful developer like Naka. While this won't necessarily hurt the Sonic franchise, it certainly doesn't help his reputation.