The Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has apologised over allegations made against him of sexual harassment dating back decades.

He said he would take a leave of absence from his company after the New York Times reported he had reached eight settlements with women.

In a statement, he said: "I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it."

"My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons. I so respect all women and regret what happened," he added in the statement given to the New York Times.

But he will sue the Times over its reports that he claims had "false and defamatory statements" and one report had been debunked by a number of eyewitnesses.

The Miramax and Weinstein Company co-founder has produced a number of Oscar-winning films such as Shakespeare in Love, The King's Speech and The Artist.

He is married since 2007 to London-born fashion designer Georgina Rose Chapman, with whom he has two children.