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Sonic co-creator Yuji Naka catches a $1.2 million fine over insider trading, but avoids jail time

The developer was arrested last year over the claim.

Yuji Naka, co-creator of Sonic and director of Balan Wonderworld, has received a $1.2 million fine over insider trading.

Late last year, Naka was arrested over alleged (at the time) insider trading, having bought stock in Ateam Entertainment Inc, the developer of Dragon Quest Tact and Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier, prior to either of the games being publicly announced. Now, as reported by Japanese outlet Jiji (thanks, PC Gamer), Naka has been fined a very hefty amount. The fine is in two parts, one being a not too much by comparison ¥2 million (about $14,000) charge, the other being a further ¥171 million (roughly $1.2 million) penalty.

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As surmised by SEGAbits, a report from Yahoo News notes that he was handed a 2.5 year prison sentence, but in turn was also given a four year suspension. He apparently showed "remorse," leading to the suspended sentence. Essentially, the game developer won't actually be going to prison, though if he does anything else illegal that suspension can be wiped out. So unless Naka decides to be a bit silly, I wouldn't expect to hear anything about him going to prison.

When Naka appeared in court in March, he outright admitted to the claims placed against him, so it was a bit of a cut and dry case. Naka hasn't made a public statement about the fine at this point in time, though.

Naka originally worked for Sega between 1984 and 2006, most notably co-creating Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as creating Nights Into Dreams. He formed his own studio in 2006, though it never made any massively notable games. In 2018, the developer joined Square Enix, where he went on to direct 2021's Balan Wonderworld. Naka subsequently left Square Enix in 2022, and here he is more than a year later in a bit of a pickle.

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