CBx Daily

Ex-Goldman Sachs 1MDB Banker Owes A Hip-Hop Mogul Millions Of Dollars

Jun 1

By CultureBanx Team

  • Russell Simmons is suing Tim Leissner and Kimora Lee Simmons for his shares in energy drink company Celsius
  • Kimora Lee’s husband Tim Leissner is an ex-Goldman Sachs partner in Asia who already pleaded guilty in the 1MDB scandal and agreed to forfeit $43.7M in 2018

The saga continues for former Goldman Sachs (GS +0.51%) banker Tim Leissner, his wife Kimora Lee Simmons, as her ex-husband Russell Simmons claims they owe him millions of dollars. He has filed a lawsuit against the couple for allegedly transferring and using his shares of an energy drink company called Celsius. Leissner already pleaded guilty in 2018, and agreed to forfeit $43.7 million for his role in the Malaysia 1MDB scandal that cost Goldman more than $3 billion. Simmons alleges that his shares of Celsius are being used as collateral to pay a bond in connection with these criminal charges.

Why This Matters: Quick Recap on how these three people ended up in this situation. Goldman Sachs last year agreed to pay the Malaysian government $3.1 billion, to settle claims in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fund. One of the main people who got the bank involved in this scandal was Kimora Lee’s Simmons husband Tim Leissner. The bank swiftly parted ways with him after his shady dealings with Jho Low came to light. In November 2018, when Leissner agreed to pay $43.7 million toward victim compensation, it was in order to avoid jail time.

In his claim, Simmons says 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.” Simmons claims they used their Celsius shares as collateral for Leissner’s bail, and he wants his shares returned.

Last year, Goldman set aside $1.09 billion to settle allegations with the Department of Justice (DOJ) for its part in arranging $6.5 billion in loans for Malaysian development fund 1MDB, which was later ransacked by Leissner,  Roger NG and others.

Now Russell wants no financial part in keeping Leissner out of jail. In a letter sent to his ex-wife Kimora Lee on May 5, 2021, he was pleading with her to do the right thing and avoid a lawsuit. He wrote that “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.”

What’s Next: A representative for Kimora Lee 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.” At this point 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.

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