Kimora Lee Simmons and her attorneys are denying allegations that the former fashion model helped her estranged husband Tim Leissner conceal tens of millions of dollars of stolen money — funds that are connected to one of the biggest financial scandals in history.
Details continued to emerge from former Goldman Sachs banker Leissner’s witness testimony in the federal bribery and money-laundering trial of his former Goldman subordinate Roger Ng. Leissner is a cooperating witness in the trial after pleading guilty in 2018 to his involvement in what federal prosecutors say was a scheme between the two men and international fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low to rip off Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MBD. The two former Goldman bankers and the accused mastermind Jho — who is believed to be hiding in China — are just three of the figures in a wide-ranging scandal that authorities say led to as much as $4.5 billion being looted from the $6.5 billion fund from 2009 to 2014.
According to multiple reports, lawyers for Ng have asked that the trial judge allow them to present evidence that could prove Simmons helped Leissner reportedly launder $80 million of stolen by using multiple shell corporations.
Lawyers for Simmons said any allegations of the former runway model’s involvement in laundering stolen funds are false. But the New York Post reports Ng’s lawyers are claiming in court documents the 46-year-old and her estranged husband “Traveled to Lichtenstein in 2018 “for the express purpose of creating a trust for ‘asset protection’ — hiding Leissner’s ill-gotten gains, which had been transferred to Ms. Simmons Leissner’s name.”
Federal prosecutors have asked the judge to exclude any communication between Simmons and Leissner due to marital privilege, however, given the former banker’s recent testimony that he faked his divorce before marrying Simmons, Ng’s attorneys say any marital privilege benefits are void.
This is not the first time Simmons has been accused of mishandling funds. In May 2021, she was sued by her ex-husband, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, who said his ex-wife allegedly transferred and used his shares in the Celsius’s energy drink company as collateral for Leissner’s bond in his case. The former banker paid nearly $44 million to avoid jail time.
Lawyers for the fashion designer addressed the suit stating, “at the time Defendants used the Celsius shares for purposes of the bond in connection with the federal case, Lee understood and believed that Defendants were authorized to use the shares for the bond.”