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Naka suspected of purchasing shares of Ateam ahead of Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier game’s announcement

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office arrested game programmer and director Yuji Naka again on Wednesday on suspicion of insider trading, or buying/selling stock on the basis of nonpublic information. While still at Square Enix, Naka allegedly invested in Ateam, developers of the company’s Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier mobile game, prior to the game’s announcement. Former Square Enix employee Taisuke Sasaki was also once again arrested for the same reason. They are suspected of purchasing about 120,000 shares of Ateam for about 144.7 million yen (about US$1 million).

The Prosecutors Office also arrested Naka on November 18 on suspicion of insider trading. The arrest was connected with the arrests of former Square Enix employee Sasaki and his acquaintance Fumiaki Suzuki. Sasaki and Suzuki allegedly invested in the company aiming after they learned that it was developing the Dragon Quest Tact smartphone game in collaboration with Square Enix.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, Naka allegedly purchased 10,000 shares of Aiming for 2.8 million yen (about US$20,000) in late January 2020 before the announcement of Dragon Quest Tact. In comparison, Sasaki and Suzuki allegedly purchased about 162,000 shares of Aiming for a total of about 47.2 million yen (about US$337,000) prior to game’s announcement.

Naka joined Square Enix in January 2018. Naka resigned from Square Enix at the end of April 2021. He had stated at the time that he could not explain the reason for the resignation, but would talk about it publicly when the time came. Naka revealed on April 28 earlier this year that he had filed a lawsuit against Square Enix for supposedly removing him as the director of the Balan Wonderworld game six months before the game launched.

Naka worked for 22 years at Sega. He is the former head of the Sonic Team and lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog games for Sega Genesis. He also worked on such games as Nights into Dreams and Phantasy Star Online while at Sega.

Naka is the president and CEO of the PROPE game development company, which he founded in 2006 after leaving Sega. At PROPE, he worked on such games as Fishing Resort, Buddy Monster, and Legend of Coin.

The Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier game is a battle royale-style game that takes place 30 years before the main Final Fantasy VII game. The game launched in November 2021. It will end service on January 11.

Image via Yuji Naka‘s Twitter account

Source: Kyodo News (47 News) via Hachima Kikо̄

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