*After The New York Post published a report Thursday that Kimora Lee Simmons’ signature fashion line is at the center of a corruption probe, the designer fired back at the claims — denying that her husband financed her company.
The banker left Goldman Sachs under a cloud of suspicion last year after raising $6.5 billion for a Malaysian development fund. The FBI and investigators in four other countries are tracing hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly transferred to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
“Goldman Sachs was paid exorbitant fees for selling the bonds,” one lawyer who has followed the case said. “The prosecutors, if they do their job, will seek to claw back the commissions.”
A Goldman Sachs spokesman said Thursday, “Leissner left Goldman shortly after we discovered an unauthorized recommendation letter he wrote.”
OTHER NEWS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: ‘The Real’/3LW Reunion: Adrienne Houghton Apologizes to Naturi Naughton (WATCH)
Simmons has been married for three years to Leissner. She has two daughters from her marriage to hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, a son by actor Djimon Hounsou, and a son with Leissner.
Retail experts wonder aloud how Kimora’s fashion line — sold online and at a boutique in Beverly Hills, is profitable.
“She’s off the map. She’s not in any department stores,” one expert said.
As Fashionista noted in 2014, “Unlike other brands that come into the designer market, Simmons has an unusually well-funded infrastructure.”
Kimora responded to the NY Post article on Thursday and said of her entry-level designer label Kimora Lee Simmons: “I’ve been around for quite some time. I’m an old lady so I’ve always been self-sustaining, self-funded. I’ve had Baby Phat and at one point Phat Farm, too. I’ve had Couture by Kimora, Fabulosity, KLS so this is not my first ride at the rodeo. I’ve had six or seven successful fragrances,” she said. “I fund my own business.…I’ve been in the fashion industry since [age] 12, modeling and all that. So all my money, not that I want to say it that way, this is my third marriage that I’m on so, no, my husband has nothing to do with my professional life.”
When asked if she consults with her husband about business, she said: “He’s a financial person and I’m a fashion person, so I wouldn’t say that really. And I’ve been doing this for kind of a long time. Probably more my young girls [14 and 17] give me a little more fashion advice.”
Her reaction to the Post’s report: “I think it does a disservice to the fashion business and to designers like me. I’m one of the few designers who is here with their namesake label. I’m one of the few women and certainly one of the few women of color. Diversity is a big conversation for me that I talk about.
“When you say something to attack a brand…it doesn’t do a service to myself or the industry to have — for those who are following in my footsteps, or for the groundwork that I have laid for other people like myself of which there are only a small handful,” Simmons said. “So we struggle every day and we have our struggles every day, but I think it’s better to probably keep to the topic of your growth and your success than to go and create lies or false stories about brands like that. It’s one thing to be successful, it’s another thing to be failing, it’s another thing for someone to write and publish things that you’re failing. That’s really no good. I was just shocked at that but it happens all the time. I guess I’m honored that they still want to talk about me.”
Read what Kimora had to say about female empowerment over at WWD.com.