The man the world has come to know as "The Tinder Swindler" wants everyone to know he's not one. Shimon Hayut, better known by his alias Simon Leviev, is the subject of the viral Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler, which documented several women who claimed to have been conned out of thousands of dollars by Hayut after he allegedly presented himself as the heir of an Israeli diamond mogul.
"I want to clear my name. I want to say to the world, 'This is not true,'" Hayut tells Inside Edition TV show in an interview that aired on Monday in the US, his first since the documentary debuted on Netflix on February 2 and became a global hit.
In the documentary, which has been seen by more than 50 million people around the world, Hayut led women he met on Tinder to believe that he was the son of a billionaire diamond businessman. He wooed them with private jets, fancy cars and a champagne lifestyle. Then, once he gained their trust, he would ask the women to part with significant amounts of money, pretending that he was in danger.
The three women featured in the documentary claim to have lent him more than $500,000 combined, which they never saw again.
“I’m not this monster that everybody has created," Hayut tells Inside Edition in a virtual interview, dressed in a Dior shirt. "I was just a single guy that wanted to meet some girls on Tinder.”
When asked if he was the son of billionaire diamond mogul, Hayut says: "No I'm not, and I never presented myself [that way]."
On how he still lives a lavish lifestyle as seen on his Instagram account, he says he's "a legit businessman".
"I bought Bitcoin in 2011 when it was nothing. I don't need to say how much it's worth now."
The Tindler Swindler also included interviews with journalists from Norwegian newspaper VG, whose reporters even travel to Israel to look for Hayut. They discover that Hayut had faced several charges in his country and was sentenced to prison time in Finland for defrauding other women.
He is estimated to have conned people out of more than $10 million.
The film also showed Hayut eventually being arrested in Greece in 2019 after being caught using a fake passport. He was sent back to Israel, where he was jailed on charges unconnected to the events of the Netflix show and served five months in prison after being released early for good behaviour.
The Inside Edition interview also featured Hayut’s girlfriend, model Kate Konlin.
When asked what she thought of the charges by the women in the documentary, Konlin called it "a fake story", and said Hayut had never borrowed money from her.
To those who think he's a fraud and a fake, Hayut insists he's not.
"I'm not a fraud and I'm not a fake, so people cannot judge me," he says.
Since the documentary premiered, Hayut has signed with a talent agent, Gina Rodriguez of Gitoni, and joined the video-sharing platform Cameo, where a personalised video with him is going for $199.
Earlier this month, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Hayut has been banned from Tinder and other dating platforms owned by parent company Match Group including Match.com, OkCupid, Hinge and Plenty of Fish.
A second part of the Inside Edition interview will be aired on Tuesday.