Simon Leviev, the 31-year-old from a modest background in Bnei Brak, Israel, is the subject of Netflix’s newest hit film The Tinder Swindler – which has racked up 45.8 million hours viewed worldwide during the first week of February. He recently spoke to CBS Media’s Inside Edition to give his side of the story.
The Tinder Swindler tells the story of Leviev’s elaborate scams, which were orchestrated on the popular dating app “Tinder” and involved him duping unsuspecting women into giving him loans – loans that were never repaid, according to claims by the defendants that were highlighted by the new film.
“I want to clear my name, I want to tell the world it's not true,” said Leviev – who was born Shimon Hayut before changing his legal name.
Hayut created the “Simon Leviev” persona, that of a billionaire playboy, in order to dupe his matches on Tinder into believing his schemes – with the Leviev name borrowed from Israeli diamantaire Lev Leviev, whom Shimon claimed was his father.
Simon Leviev had previously been arrested in 2015 and 2019 and served a 15-month prison sentence in Finland and Israel, where he was released after only five months due to the pandemic. He denies any wrongdoing connected to the cases detailed in the Netflix film.
“I’m not this monster that everyone has created,” said Leviev in an exclusive with Inside Edition. When asked about the allegations against him, including that he threatened his victims, he denied them all.
“I feel bad for something that I didn't do? No,” he said when asked if he felt bad for his victims. “I feel bad for whatever (sic) happened to myself.”
When asked about how he finances his lavish lifestyle, Leviev sharply retorted that he is a legitimate businessman. “You know, I bought Bitcoin in 2011 when it was [worth] nothing… I don’t have to say how much it's worth now.”
When asked if he was the son of the billionaire diamond mogul, as he presented himself to be, Leviev replied: “I am not and I never presented myself [to be].”
His social media shows that he continues to indulge in his jet-setting lifestyle, while he even had a new girlfriend to show off on the camera – Israeli model Kate Conway.
“It's like, how can someone build such fake stories?” said Conway, who affirmed to Inside Edition that she has not loaned Leviev any money since they started dating.
“I’m not a fraud and I’m not a fake, people don't know me so they cannot judge me,” Leviev concluded.