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Kimora Lee Simmons Fights to Keep $93M Amid Husband’s Criminal Case, Ex Russell Simmons Insists the Money Belongs to Him

It’s the battle of the exes that just won’t seem to go away.

The financial fight between Kimora Lee Simmons and her ex-husband, Russell Simmons, has popped up again in the news as Radar rehashes the tale of the once amicable exes headed to federal court.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 01: Kimora Lee Simmons attends Smile Train All Smiles Are Beautiful Launch Party at Nobu on October 01, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Smile Train)

Here’s what we know.

They are battling over tens of millions of dollars. The dispute centers around shares of the drink company Celsius, which were ordered to be seized by the government.

Stuck in Court

Simmons and Kimora Lee were previously married from 1998 to 2009. In 2014, she married banker Tim Leissner. In 2018, Leissner was arrested for his involvement in a large-scale international money laundering scheme and has since been out on $20 million bail.

As part of his plea deal, Leissner was ordered to pay back $43.7 million, and he used 3.3 million shares of Celsius Holdings, owned by Kimora and Simmons, to cover his bond and legal expenses. Simmons claims Kimora had no right to withdraw the shares and did so without his permission. He ultimately sued the couple, alleging fraud and demanding the return of his Celsius shares.

Simmons, who reputedly has a net worth of around $400 million, has accused his former wife of using company stock illegally. Kimora has a net worth estimated at around $200 million.

The government has ordered the seizure of these shares. In March 2023, the court ordered the forfeiture of all rights and interest in 3.3 million Celsius shares held in Kimora’s bank account. She claims that out of these shares, 892,732.40 shares are rightfully hers, purchased with her personal funds from her modeling career and other ventures, Radar reports.

Simmons is seeking damages and the return of his Celsius shares.

The seized shares are estimated to be worth $93 million.

The Lawsuit

Simmons, through his attorney, accused Lee and Leissner, a former Goldman Sachs banker, of fraud in 2021. He claimed that his Celsius shares are being used as collateral to pay a bond related to the criminal charges.

“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,” his lawsuit read.

On May 5, 2021, Simmons wrote a letter to his ex-wife to take his side before he filed his lawsuit.

“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 percent of the Celsius shares..which have been locked up with the government after being used for your husband’s bail money,” Simmons wrote, Forbes reported.

Lee and Leissner have denied any wrongdoing in the accusations made by Simmons.

Lee clarified that she had acquired her Celsius shares one and a half years prior to Leissner’s criminal activities.

In 2011, Lee established an investment firm called Nu Horizons, where she was the sole member and manager, as per court documents. Leissner was subsequently appointed as a manager. Lee revealed that she invested $1 million in Celsius shares back in 2017, and they were held under Nu Horizon.

As Finurah previously reported, it has been revealed that Leissner has a stake worth $1.25 million in Celsius. However, it has also been discovered that this acquisition was part of a larger scheme to take advantage of the managing director for Asia at the energy-drink company, Roger Ng.

Who Owns What

In the letter Simmons wrote to Kimora wrote, he stated that of the 3.3 million shares, he wants her to “reaffirm [his] 50 percent of the Celsius shares.”

On May 8, Celsius shares traded for $104.26, making the 3.3 million shares worth more than $344 million.

Kimora claims that she used about 893,000 of the shares, or $93,104,180. Simmons believes that Lee and Leissner worked together to illegally transfer the Celsius shares to their accounts. This was allegedly done to cover Leissner’s legal and bail fees for a 2018 money laundering case, to which he pleaded guilty. Simmons has made it clear that he does not want to be involved in any way with this situation and insists that the shares should not be used for this purpose.

The official breakdown of who owns how many of the shares has yet to be determined and could possibly be ruled in court if this matter were to be scheduled for trial.

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