Kimora Lee Simmons’ scandal-filled marriage to Tim Leissner is making headlines once again after the disgraced former Goldman Sach banker said in a New York courtroom this week that he faked a divorce in order to marry the influential fashion designer — and that was the second time he’d used phony divorce papers to get married.
Leissner made the admission during his witness testimony in the federal bribery and money-laundering trial of a former Goldman subordinate Leissner claims he partnered with to rip off hundreds of millions of dollars from Malaysian wealth fund 1MDB. Leissner, who already has pleaded guilty for his role in the complex scheme, also testified this week that he ripped off tens of millions of dollars from his accomplices in the alleged scheme.
The 52-year-old told prosecutors at Goldman Sachs colleague Roger Ng’s trial on Thursday, Feb. 24, that he was twice married to two women simultaneously, Bloomberg reported.
Leissner initially forged documents to marry former Goldman Sachs analyst and Chinese coal-mining heir Judy Chan. When the pair wed in 2000 Leissner was still married to another woman whose identity has not been made public, so Leissner sent forged divorce papers to the Hong Kong government to clear the path for his and Chan’s nuptials.
By 2014 the German-born investment banker was preparing to marry the Baby Phat creator despite still being married to Chan. On Thursday in court he said, “I photoshopped the divorce document,” to get around that problem.
When prosecutor Drew Rolle asked Leissner if Chan was aware of the forgery, he replied that she was upset and refused to help him put a $900,000 down payment on a house in Los Angeles for him and his new bride. “Judy did not want to make any transfers related to my new family life in Los Angeles,” he said.
Leissner also claimed that he tried to Get Chan to transfer him the money by claiming that it was for Malaysian financier Jho Low, the fugitive who is wanted for his alleged role as the mastermind in the 1MDB scheme. “It didn’t work,” he said. “I think she did some research on the Internet and found out I was trying to buy this house.”
Leissner pleaded guilty in 2018 for involvement in the scheme, paying nearly $44 million to avoid jail time. Kimora Lee’s ex-husband, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, claims his ex-wife misappropriated his money to help her husband with his legal troubles.
In May 2021, the music executive sued the mother of his two daughters for allegedly transferring and using his shares in the Celsius’s energy drink company as collateral for Leissner’s bond in his case.
News that Leissner falsified marriage documents prompted critics on social media to refer back to the suit. Many of them appeared to side with the Phat Farm creator, including media personality Jacob York, who wrote, “But y’all were mad at Russell.” Another person commented, “So Russ wasn’t lying?”
And, of course, the jokes came flooding in. “See while she was tryna tell the Kardashians how to handle Jordan this who she should’ve been worried about,” wrote a third person. “Damn, her box must be hittin to get a man to photoshop divorce papers! It’s Kimora Lee Simmons tho, so I totally understand, lmaoo,” added another.
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