US casino mogul quits as Republican Party financial chair

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn resigned as finance chairman of the Republican Party's fund-raising arm on Saturday, a day after a newspaper reported that he routinely subjected women who worked for him to unwanted sexual advances.

"Today I accepted Steve Wynn's resignation as Republican National Committee finance chair," committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel said in a statement.

The billionaire has denied the accusations published by the Wall Street Journal as "preposterous" and said they were instigated by his ex-wife to seek advantage in their divorce lawsuit.

But he said in a statement released on Saturday evening that he was resigning to avoid unnecessary distraction. He also thanked US President Donald Trump for the job.

"The unbelievable success we have achieved must continue," the statement said. "The work we are doing to make America a better place is too important to be impaired by this distraction."

As recently as Friday night, Wynn associates were insisting he would fight the charges and remain at the Republican National Committee (RNC).

Instead, he becomes the latest powerful man to pay a price for accusations of sexual misconduct in the US.

The 76-year-old founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts Ltd has been a prominent figure in the casino resort business and one-time rival of Mr Trump.

After previously seeking to appear non-partisan, he threw his support behind Mr Trump during the 2016 campaign and donated money to several Republican causes, including the RNC.

Mr Trump called Mr Wynn a "great friend" after he won the Nevada caucus in February 2016, and Mr Wynn was named finance chairman of the committee after Mr Trump became president.

US Representative Francis Rooney of Florida is being considered as a replacement, one Republican fund-raiser said.