Russell Simmons is suing his ex-wife, Kimora Lee Simmons, and her new husband, Tim Leissner, for allegedly transferring and using his shares of an energy drink company to pay legal fees for Leissner. He claims his shares of Celsius, the energy drink, are being used as collateral to pay a bond in connection with criminal charges filed against Kimora’s new husband by the feds.
In court documents obtained by The Blast, the entertainment mogul claims he, his ex-wife, and her husband invested tens of millions of dollars in the Celsius energy drink company. Kimora and Leissner allegedly “conspired with each other, aided and abetted each other and together engaged in fraud by causing an unlawful conversion and fraudulent transfer” of the Celsius shares without Russell’s consent or knowledge. He claims that Kimora and her new husband transferred his shares to themselves. Russell claims his new accountants discovered a “substantial unexplained change” in his interests in Celsius… something that didn’t sit well with him and his lawyers.
Kimora’s husband plead guilty to criminal conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and conspiracy to commit money laundering in November 2018. Simmons claims Kimora and Leissner “knew full well that Leissner would need tens of millions of dollars to avoid jail time, stay out on bail, and forfeit monies for victim compensation” – $44 million to be exact. Russell claims they used their Celsius shares as collateral for Leissner’s bail, and Russell wants his Celsius shares returned.
Russell is asking a judge for damages against Kimora and Leissner and believes he should be awarded restitution for interest and equal value for the wrongfully obtained shares. Interestingly, Russell says he sent his ex-wife a letter on May 5, 2021, pleading with her to do the right thing and avoid a lawsuit. He wrote to 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.”
A few weeks ago, Russell wished Kimora a happy birthday on his Instagram. “Happy birthday kimora. we have accomplished so much. God willing our family and friendship will continue to thrive. keep your head up in the clouds with our stock !!! remember with Gods love all things are possible love always,” he wrote at the time.
Russell’s pleasant demeanor turned negative in his letter to Kimora. He said, “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.”
“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,” Kimora’s legal team said.
They continued, “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, gas lighting, and ongoing harassment he has inflicted on Kimora.”
Adding, “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 US court.”