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Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator arrested over insider trading

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Programmer Yuji Naka is known for making Sonic and other major titles at Sega./AFP
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Nov 22, 2022 - 03:07 AM

TOKYO, JAPAN — The co-creator of classic video game series Sonic the Hedgehog has been arrested for alleged insider trading, according to public prosecutors in Tokyo.

Yuji Naka, a 57-year-old programmer known for making Sonic and other major titles at Japanese game firm Sega, was arrested on Friday, a prosecution document obtained by AFP said.

His alleged misdeed took place nearly three years ago, when Naka was an employee at “Final Fantasy” creator Square Enix, the Tokyo District Prosecutors Office document said.

Naka is accused of buying shares in another game company, Aiming, when he knew they were going to release a new title jointly developed with Square Enix.

He purchased 10,000 shares in Aiming for 2.8 million yen ($20,000) in January 2020, according to the document, and the new game was announced the following month.

Prosecutors on Thursday arrested two other former Square Enix employees, also for alleged insider trading linked to Aiming.

Naka was not immediately reachable for comment, but his fans expressed surprise and disappointment on social media.

“Please tell me this isn’t true. He brought Sonic to life… I’m so sad,” one Twitter user wrote.

“He worked on many great games. So disappointing,” said another.

On the website of the game studio that Naka founded called Prope, the programmer said he wanted to create “games that surprise and entertain children around the world”.

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