Who is 'The Tinder Swindler' Simon Leviev and where is he now?

Leviev is the subject of Netflix's shocking new documentary, which is leaving many viewers with questions

The Tinder Swindler, Simon Leviev. Photo: @simon_leviev_official via Instagram
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They met how many people do in the 21st century – on Tinder. After a few messages back and forth, Cecilie Fjellhoy, a Norwegian graduate living in London, went to meet her new match for a coffee at a five-star hotel.

Spoilers ahead

The man was Simon Leviev, a wealthy businessman who told her he was the son of Israeli diamond tycoon Lev Leviev. They chatted, getting to know one another, but Leviev’s busy schedule meant the date had to be cut short.

He told Fjellhoy he had to fly to Bulgaria for business, via private jet, and invited her to come along so they could continue their date. Excited and ignoring the concerns of her friends, she headed home, packed a bag and joined him, after a few quick Google searches apparently backed up his story – he was who he said he was.

It was the start of an ordeal that would leave Fjellhoy heartbroken and more than $200,000 in debt.

Who is Simon Leviev?

Leviev is the star of new Netflix documentary film The Tinder Swindler, which had its premiere on the streaming site on Wednesday.

It tells the story of three women – Fjellhoy, Pernilla Sjoholm and Ayleen Charlotte – each of whom were tricked into handing over tens of thousands of dollars to Leviev.

Cecilie Fjellhoy in 'The Tinder Swindler'. Photo: Netflix.

Born Shimon Hayut, he legally changed his name in 2011 to Simon Leviev – although he in fact has no relation to the Leviev diamond family – and fled his native Israel, where he was wanted in connection with a string of fraud offenses he is alleged to have committed in his early twenties.

He moved to Finland, where in 2015, he was sent to prison for two years for conning three women. It was after his release, in 2017, that he met Fjellhoy.

What did Simon Leviev do?

The Netflix documentary features the stories of the three women, who each had almost identical experiences with Leviev. They matched with him on Tinder, met him in person, and entered into a long-distance relationship with him – in the case of Fjellhoy and Charlotte, the relationships were romantic, with Sjoholm, the pair were close friends.

Each woman witnessed his lavish lifestyle – private jets, designer clothes, luxury hotels and constant business trips. It was enough for them to believe he was who he said he was.

He showered them with gifts, love and affection, and in many cases, flew across Europe just to meet up with them for a coffee or dinner. As they grew closer, he began to open up about the dangerous diamond business and his “enemies”, who were always looking to destroy him, meaning his life was constantly in danger.

Eventually the women would receive a worrying message from Leviev, showing his bodyguard beaten and bruised in the back of an ambulance. They were told his “enemies” had found him, and, in order to remain safe and not be found, he’d put a block on all his credit cards.

What followed was a series of requests for credit card access, personal loans and requests for plane tickets, which the women handed over, believing that this multimillionaire diamond tycoon would repay the money.

Pernilla Sjoholm in 'The Tinder Swindler'. Photo: Netflix

The documentary alleges he would use the money from the previous victim to woo and impress the next, and so the swindle continued. While it is not clear exactly how many women Leviev targeted, the show makes it clear its subjects are not the only ones.

Where is Leviev now?

Leviev, 31, was eventually arrested in Greece in 2019 after being caught using a fake passport, thanks to information from Charlotte. He was sent back to Israel, where he was jailed on charges unconnected to the events of the Netflix show dating back to 2011. He served five months in prison after being released early for good behaviour.

The Tinder Swindler AKA Simon Leviev.
Photo: @simon_leviev_official via Instagram

Despite being wanted in many European countries, he is currently living as a free man in Israel. According to, The Times of Israel, he is alleged to have swindled an estimated $10 million dollars from victims across Europe between 2017 and 2019, although he has never been charged for any crimes committed outside of Israel.

“Maybe their hearts were broken during the process … I never took a dime from them; these women enjoyed themselves in my company, they travelled and got to see the world on my dime,” he told the newspaper.

Fjellhoy, Sjoholm and Charlotte are still paying off their debt.

The Tinder Swindler is now available to stream on Netflix

Updated: February 05, 2022, 6:14 AM
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