Japanese FNN Prime Online has reported that Yuji Naka, creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, and two other former Square Enix employees Taisuke Sazaki and Fumiaki Suzuki, have been arrested in Tokyo as part of a suspected insider trading scheme surrounding a new Dragon Quest game. All three allegedly acquired stock in Japanese developer Aiming, shortly before they announced that the company was working on a new Dragon Quest game, the mobile title Dragon Quest Tact.
Sazaki and Fumiaki reportedly purchased around ¥47 million ($336,300) of stock in Aiming. Naka – who was working on Balan Wonderworld for Square Enix at the time – allegedly purchased approximately 10,000 shares of Aiming stock for around ¥2.8 million ($20,000).
Naka was critical of Square Enix because of the game’s poor development which he attributed to the game’s poor reception. He went on to sue Square Enix claiming that he was removed from the game six months before its release. “Game creators are supposed to improve their games until the very end, and I believe that it is wrong to prevent them from carrying out this goal,” Naka wrote in April, translated by VGC.
“I asked my lawyer to negotiate with our business partners to at least allow me to address issues on Balan Wonderworld’s development until the very end, but they ignored my requests, so I ultimately decided to file a lawsuit in court. “It is because of this that Balan Wonderworld received all the criticisms and comments you all know well,” he claimed. “It is quite unfortunate that a project I had spearheaded from the beginning would turn out this way.
“Personally, I believe that it is a true disgrace that Balan Wonderworld was released in the state that it was in. I wanted to show the world an action game in its proper light. Therefore, I believe that Square Enix and Arzest are companies that care about neither games nor their fans.”
Since the three purchased stock before Dragon Quest Tact was officially announced, the belief is that Naka, Sazaki, and Fumiaki may have allegedly knowingly used insider information in order to sell the stock later again when its value increased.
Following the arrests of Taisuke Sazaki and Fumiaki Suzuki, Square Enix released a statement about the situation. “Today, some media outlets reported that the former employees of Square Enix were under investigation for suspected insider trading,” Square Enix said.
“We have been fully cooperating with requests from the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission. As the investigation by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is underway, we will continue to fully cooperate with the investigation. 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.”