USA

Top Republican quits after harassment claims

Casino billionaire Steve Wynn has resigned as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), a day after allegations of sexual harassment and assault emerged.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Mr Wynn routinely subjected women who worked for him to unwanted sexual advances in a pattern of misconduct detailed by dozens of employees.

Mr Wynn denied the claims as "preposterous" and accused his ex-wife Elaine of instigating the accusations as part of a "nasty lawsuit" seeking a revised divorce settlement.

"We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits," he added.

But in a statement released on Saturday night, Mr Wynn said he was resigning to avoid unnecessary distraction – and thanked President Trump for the job.

Image:Mr Wynn has accused his ex-wife Elaine of instigating the claims, but her lawyer says it 'is just not true'

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

The 76-year-old founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts Ltd has been a prominent figure in the casino resort business in Las Vegas.

After previously seeking to appear nonpartisan, he threw his support behind Mr Trump during the 2016 election 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 Wynn was named finance chairman of the committee in January 2017 after Mr Trump became president.

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

The board of directors of Wynn Resorts said it had met to form a special committee consisting solely of independent directors to investigate the allegations reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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