Sonic co-creator slapped with $1.2M fine after being found guilty of insider trading

Yuji Naka presents Balan Wonderworld while dressed in a top hat and neckerchief.
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Sonic co-creator and Balan Wonderworld director Yuji Naka has been found guilty of insider trading, with the Tokyo District Court slapping him with a huge $1.2 million fine and a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence, suspended for four years.

It's not far off the punishment prosecutors were gunning for earlier last month, the only exception being the four-year suspended sentence which will see Naka avoid any actual jail time unless he violates any of the court's conditions or has any other nasty run-ins with the law during that time. According to a translated summary from SEGAbits, Naka was said to have shown "remorse" which led to the suspended sentence, despite the prosecution insisting otherwise. The fine remains largely the same though, with Japanese outlet Jiji reporting that he's been issued with a ¥2 million (roughly $14,000) fine plus a further ¥171 million (around $1.2 million) penalty. 

Naka was originally arrested back in November 2022 on suspicion of insider trading while at Square Enix, alongside two other employees. He was accused of buying shares in Aiming Imc. before its collaboration with Square Enix on the mobile game Dragon Quest Tact, before being arrested again a month later for the exact same thing, except this time for Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier and developer ATeam. 

The developer all but admitted he was guilty on the first day in court in March this year, saying "There is no doubt that I knew the facts about the game before it was made public and bought the stock," so his sentencing comes as no surprise. Now it's up to Naka to pay the fine and stay on his best behaviour until 2027, lest he ends up behind bars.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.