Russell Simmons, a renowned music executive, sued Kimora and her husband, Tim Leissner, in May 2021 for allegedly transferring and utilizing Russell’s shares from Celsius’s energy drink company as collateral for Leissner’s court case bond. In 2018, the former managing director of Goldman Sachs pled guilty to charges stemming from a $2.7 billion money-laundering scam in Malaysia. The co-founder of Def Jam says he sought to handle the situation discretely. Kimora, on the other hand, claims to have refused to engage with the businessman. Russell now wants to be compensated for the interest he owes.
“At the time Defendants used the Celsius shares for purposes of the bond in connection with the federal lawsuit, Lee understood and believed that Defendants were entitled to use the shares for the bond,” Kimora’s counsel claimed in freshly filed documents acquired by Radar Online. Russell, according to the Baby Phat founder, resigned from the Nu Horizons board of directors well before the transfer was initiated. He also sold his share of the company and other assets for $14.25 million to a company called Keyway Pride LTD.
Kimora declares Russell has no evidence that she or her spouse defrauded him. She claimed that the shares were not sold, but were temporarily held by the government in exchange for her husband’s bail, and that they would be restored. She now wants the case against her dismissed.
Kimora initially reacted to news of the lawsuit by calling it an “extortion attempt” and a “desperate PR ploy.” Her reps told the outlet, “This is an ill-advised attempt by Russell to use the legal system to access funds he is in no way entitled to, and which his own legal team confirms Russell did not pay for. Russell’s continued aggressive behavior not only blatantly distorts the facts but is simply a desperate PR ploy ignoring the years of mental and emotional anguish, gaslighting, and ongoing harassment he has inflicted on Kimora.”
In November 1992, Russell and Kimora met for the first time. They married in December 1998 on the island of Saint Barthélemy, six years later, but divorced in March 2006. They have two daughters, Ming Lee, 21, and Aoki Lee Simmons, 19, and have remained close friends and business partners for many years.