Russell Simmons sues ex Kimora Lee for allegedly stealing stocks

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Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee’s divorce was finalized more than a decade ago, but they may have to face each other in court once again.

The music executive, 63, sued the model, 46, and her husband, Tim Leissner, on Tuesday for allegedly attempting to fraudulently transfer Simmons’ nearly four million Celsius shares to their accounts to help pay for Leissner’s legal and bail fees stemming from a 2018 money laundering case, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court documents obtained by Page Six on Friday.

Simmons claimed in the paperwork that he “has repeatedly tried for years to avoid filing this lawsuit and resolve it amicably.” He said he most recently attempted to settle the matter without the court’s involvement in a letter to Lee urging her “to get the important family matter of the Celsius shares to a close so that we can put it behind us and carry on as the loving united front we have always been.”

Simmons’ letter to his ex-wife, which was included in the lawsuit, reads in part, “As you know, throughout my entire decades long partnership with you I’ve done everything and anything to protect and promote our family. I have never said no to any request and have always gone against my own council to offer up much more than any judge would ever require of me in order to keep the peace.

“I have invited you to share in many of my business opportunities including introducing you to Celsius which has been very lucrative for you. I am shocked and saddened to see how your side has behaved in response to my repeated attempts to get an agreement from you to rightfully and legally reaffirm my 50% of the Celsius shares … which have been locked up with the government after being used for your husband’s bail money. This, by the way, having been done under an ILLEGAL transfer of my funds that I had NO KNOWLEDGE OF and would have never agreed to.”

A 2018 Forbes article reported that Leissner, now 49, pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy to commit money laundering from Malaysian wealth fund 1MDB and agreed to pay $44 million to avoid jail time. Simmons alleged in his lawsuit on Tuesday that he did not learn of Lee and Leissner’s alleged fund transfers until July 2019.

Simmons, who shares two daughters with Lee, claimed in his suit, “In short, knowing full well that Defendant Leissner would need tens of millions of dollars to avoid jail time, stay out on bail and forfeit monies for victim compensation, [they] engaged in this blatant fraud to achieve that nefarious and unlawful goal.”

Reps for Simmons and Lee didn’t immediately get back to us, but Lee’s counsel told Entertainment Tonight in a statement, “Kimora and her children are shocked by the extortive harassment coming from her ex-husband, Russell Simmons, who has decided to sue her for shares and dividends of Celsius stock in which Kimora and Tim Leissner invested millions of dollars. 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. Russell will be held accountable for his serial abuse and we will confront his baseless claims that he is warranted Celsius stock dividends despite his self-admitted zero contribution. This extortion attempt is especially egregious given that Russell remains contractually in debt to Kimora for millions of dollars in unpaid business loans. Our team is actively working to put a firm end to his harassment, which continues despite Russell having fled the country – he will face his own reckoning in the U.S. court.”

Simmons and Lee were married from 1998 until 2009. She tied the knot with Leissner in 2013.

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