NEW YORK (AP) _ Billionaire Donald Trump says he is leaving his wife of 12 years, Ivana, and has moved out of their Trump Tower penthouse, but that the other women he has been linked to are ''just friends.''

Trump confirmed the split in a phone conversation with Daily News columnist Liz Smith.

Trump told his wife last Tuesday before he left for a business trip to Tokyo that he was moving out of their Trump Tower home, a spokesman for Trump said Sunday.

The owner of the Trump Shuttle airline, Trump Tower skyscraper and Trump casinos told Smith, ''It is better for Ivana and me to separate at this time. But I am leaving because I want to leave.

''Ivana is a wonderful woman and a very good woman and I like her. We might even get back together. I can't say we won't. Who knows what could happen?'' he told the columnist from his jet as he returned to New York from Tokyo.

''And as for those other women I have been linked with, well, I want to say that we are all just friends and that's as far as it goes,'' Trump said.

The spokesman, who did not want to be identified, said Trump, 43, was not leaving his wife for another woman, but that ''it just wasn't working out.''

He added, ''It was Mr. Trump who told his wife that he was going to leave her prior to his trip to Japan. They have a prenuptial agreement and Mrs. Trump will receive their house in Connecticut and approximately $20 million.''

He's reportedly worth $1.7 billion.

The New York Post, quoting an unidentified Trump ''intimate,'' said he likened his wife to self-styled hotel queen Leona Helmsley, who like Mrs. Trump helped her tycoon husband run his business empire. Mrs. Helmsley, convicted last year of income tax violations, has long been accused of treating underlings brutally.

''I like Ivana, but we've grown apart,'' the Post quoted Trump as saying, citing the unidentified friend as a source.

''Her level of arrogance has grown steadily worse in recent years,'' Trump said, according to the Post account. ''The bottom line is I don't want to create another Leona Helmsley.''

The Czechoslovakian-born Mrs. Trump, a former model and an alternate on her native country's 1972 Olympic ski team, used to manage the Trump Castle casino in Atlantic City, N.J., and has been in charge of renovations at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

When she got the Plaza job, her husband joked that she would be paid ''one dollar plus all the dresses she can buy.''

Trump moved out of the couple's 50-room triplex in Trump Tower following his return from his trip to watch the Mike Tyson-Buster Douglas boxing match, the Post said today.

The Daily News reported Sunday that the 40-year-old Mrs. Trump was devastated because her husband was betraying her, but Trump denied that.

The statement did not address which parent would have custody of the couple's three children, Donald Jr., 12, Ivancka, 8, and Eric, 6.

Forbes magazine says Trump is worth around $1.7 billion, ranking him 19th on its 1989 list of America's 400 richest people. He is the author of the best-selling ''The Art of the Deal'' and has even lent his name to a syndicated TV quiz show, ''Trump Card.''