SEOUL, June 7 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's environment ministry on Tuesday banned sales in the local market of Japanese automaker Nissan's Qashqai model for alleged emissions fabrication.

The ministry said in a statement that it ordered Nissan Korea, the local unit of the Japanese carmaker, to recall all of 814 Qashiqai vehicles sold here, while banning sales of the SUV model from now on.

It imposed 340 million won (286,000 U.S. dollars) in fines on Nissan Korea, and filed a criminal lawsuit against Takehiko Kikuchi, the head of Nissan Korea, with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office.

The moves came after the ministry said last month that the Qashqai vehicles, sold here between November last year and May 11,  used the so-called defeat device to reduce the emissions of nitrogen oxide during the test.

It was based on the ministry's nationwide investigation into 20 diesel models, sold between December last year and April this year,  after German carmaker Volkswagen's emissions scandal in 2015.

According to the ministry, Nissan manipulated the so-called exhaust gas recirculation device to stop its function at temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius.

During a hearing on May 26, the Japanese automaker denied the allegation, saying that the stoppage of the device was aimed to protect engines from overheating, while the ministry said the 35 degrees is a temperature seen during the general driving conditions.