He's been talking about releasing his side of the story since the release of the popular Netflix series, The Tinder Swindler.
And finally, he's speaking out. Shimon Hayut a.k.a. Simon Leviev denies being The Tinder Swindler. In a video interview with Inside Edition, he says he is not a fraudster.
In the documentary, he was shown living a jet-setting life financed by the women in his life. He allegedly posed as a wealthy diamond mogul and the child of Lev Leviev, an Israeli billionaire involved in the diamond industry.
Simon reportedly swindled R150 million from women around the world then disappeared from their lives.
According to the documentary, he would lure his victims with trips on private planes, expensive dates, luxurious getaways, after he has earned their trust, he would claim that “his enemies are after him,” and beg his victims to fork out money to “save him”.
Now Simon has made his first public appearance since the release of the Netflix special. Although he does not deny being on Tinder, he says he “was just a single guy that wanted to meet some girls".
The 31-year-old denies pretending to be someone he is not and says he is just as stunned as the whole world that women traveled to meet him.
“I never presented myself as Leviev’s son,” he claimed. “I was surprised how many girls wanted me and how many girls offered to travel to meet me without them knowing me,” he said. “I'm not this monster that everybody has created."
The explosive documentary revealed that private jets, fancy dinners, yachts, and expensive cars were part of his everyday life but he maintains that he is a businessman who made his millions from bitcoin. “I’m a legit businessman,” he said when asked how he funds his lavish lifestyle. “I bought bitcoin in 2011, which was then worth nothing, I don't need to say how much it's worth now.”
In the interview he's sitting alongside his girlfriend, Israeli model, Kate Konlin. She says she's never been swindled by Simon and believes it's all fake.
“My God, it's like how someone can build such a fake story,” she said. Shimon has, however, been convicted for other crimes in the past, reports GQ, including fraud in both Finland and Israel. He has served five months out of a 15 months sentence that began in 2019. He has also been suspended from many dating apps.
But in the Inside Edition's interview, he says he is the biggest gentleman. “I’m not a fraud and I’m not a fake. People don’t know me so they cannot judge me,” he said. “I'm the biggest gentleman in the world.”
According to Netflix, Shimon was never charged for what he allegedly did to his victims Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjöholm, and Ayleen Charlotte. This is due to them being in different countries, "which makes them more difficult to successfully prosecute," says GQ.