Samsung SDI Co Ltd <006400.KS> has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $32 million criminal fine for its role in a scheme to fix prices of color display tubes, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.

Samsung SDI participated in the price-fixing conspiracy from at least January 1997 to late March 2006, the department said.

Color display tubes are a type of cathode ray tube used in televisions and computer monitors that have largely been replaced by liquid crystal display screens. The LCD industry has also been the target of a price-fixing probe.

Prosecutors said the South Korean-based company has agreed to participate in the department's ongoing color display tube investigation.

A criminal complaint filed in U.S. district court in San Francisco said Samsung SDI executives and unnamed co-conspirators held meetings in Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, China and elsewhere to set targets for the prices of the tubes, and to allocate market share, even if it meant shutting down production lines.

Efforts to reach a Samsung representative were not immediately successful.

While no other companies have been named, the Justice Department said it had previously indicted three executives from an unnamed company in connection with the CDT case.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Tim Dobbyn)