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James Packer resigns as a director of Australia's Crown Resorts

FILE PHOTO - Australian gambling tycoon James Packer looks on during day two of the Commonwealth Business Forum in Colombo November 13, 2013. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian billionaire James Packer on Wednesday resigned from the board of casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd because he is suffering "mental health issues," according to a spokesman.

Packer owns approximately 47 percent of Crown, the biggest listed casino company outside China via his company CPH Crown Holdings Ltd and had returned to Crown's board in Jan 2017.

"Mr James Packer today resigned from the Board of Crown Resorts Ltd for personal reasons. Mr Packer is suffering from mental health issues. At this time he intends to step back from all commitments," a CPH spokesman said in an emailed statement.

A Crown statement cited only "personal reasons".

"we have appreciated James’ contribution to the Board and respect his decision to step down from his role as a director at this time," Crown Executive Chairman John Alexander said.

Crown has recently battled several unproven claims of poker machine fixing and encouraging problem gambling at its flagship Melbourne casino, although it was acquitted in December of allegations that it gave gamblers misleading odds.

The company was also hit with a class action lawsuit in December for allegedly failing to inform shareholders of a marketing campaign in China that resulted in staff arrests and a slump in the share price.

(Reporting by Nicole Pinto in Bengaluru and Tom Westbrook in Sydney; Editing by Leslie Adler)