Nissan sues South Korea government over accusations of emissions cheating

SEOUL (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co Ltd’s South Korean unit said it has filed a lawsuit over claims by the government that the automaker had cheated on emissions with its Qashqai diesel sport utility vehicle.

The environment ministry this month fined Nissan 340 million won ($290,000) and ordered the recall of more than 800 Qashqai vehicles sold, accusing the Japanese automaker of using a so-called defeat device in its Qashqai model.

“We have filed the lawsuit to dispute the ministry’s accusations,” a spokesman at Nissan Korea said.

The ministry has also filed a complaint with prosecutors against Nissan Korea and its president Takehiko Kikuchi, charging them of violating an environment law.

“We believe that we have taken appropriate legal action,” a ministry official said on Friday.

South Korea conducted tests on 20 diesel vehicles made by various automakers after it had found Volkswagen AG VOWG_p.DE manipulated emissions of some vehicles sold in the country.

A South Korean court on Friday issued the first warrant for the arrest of a Volkswagen official in connection with its cheating of vehicle emissions tests.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Edwina Gibbs