Earlier this week, it was revealed that Def Jams Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons. Russell accused the former supermodel and her husband, investment banker Tim Leissner, of fraud. He also claimed that the couple illegally transferred and used Russell’s shares from an energy drink company to pay for Leissner’s expenses related to his court case.
Kimora has now fired back at her ex-husband’s claims. A spokesperson for the businesswoman told the Daily Mail that Russell’s suit was simply an “extortion attempt” and a “desperate PR ploy.”
In a statement to the outlet, reps said, “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.” It continued, “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.”
The note from the Baby Phat designer’s camp also stated that the music executive would be “held accountable for his serial abuse,” adding that they would also address 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 US court,” the statement concluded. In 2017, Russell stepped down from his businesses following allegations of sexual assault from over 20 women. He later relocated to Bali, Indonesia, notable for having no extradition treaty with the United States.
Russell alleges that his shares of the energy drink were being used as collateral to pay a bond and legal fees connected to the charges filed against Leissner. In 2018, the former Goldman Sachs managing director pleaded guilty to a $2.7 billion money-laundering scheme out of Malaysia. He also agreed to forfeit nearly $44 million to avoid jail time.
People reported that Russell reached out to his ex-wife via a letter to rectify the financial issue but to avail. Russell reportedly wrote to Kimora and expressed shock and sadness over “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.”
In the suit, Russell also accused the couple of “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, Defendants engaged in this blatant fraud to achieve that nefarious and unlawful goal.”
He is now asking a judge to have Kimora and Leissner return nearly $4 million in shares of Celsius and pay attorney legal fees.