Tinder Swindler speaks out for first time: I just wanted to meet girls

The notorious “Tinder Swindler”, who was jailed in his native Israel after being convicted of multiple “romance frauds”, claims the Netflix true-crime documentary that has made him world famous misrepresents him, and insists that he’s “not a monster”.

The Netflix series The Tinder Swindler shows how Shimon Heyada Hayut met dozens of women on the dating platform, sweeping them off their feet with trips on private jets and luxury yachts.

The programme tells how Hayut, 31, led his victims to believe he was the son of as a billionaire diamond dealer, and seduced women them into paying for his “lavish lifestyle”.

The Times of Israel reports that diamond dealer Lev Leviev intends to press charges against Hayut for falsely presenting himself as his son.

Hayut used several aliases, including Simon Leviev, on his campaign of deception, but insists in an interview with CNN’s Inside Edition: “I'm not a fraud and I'm not a fake,’ adding “people don't know me, so they cannot judge me”.

He maintains that the smash-hit Netflix show, which has been viewed by over 50 million people, is “a made up story”.

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His model girlfriend Kate Konlin will also appear in the CNN interview to explain “why she is sticking with him” despite his shocking reputation.

Hayut was was convicted of charges of fraud, theft and forgery in December 2019 and sentenced to 15 months in prison.

He was also ordered to pay his victims $43,289, and to pay a fine of $5,771 under the terms of a plea deal.

He spent five months in behind bars before being awarded early release in May 2020 on grounds of his “good behaviour” in jail.

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Since his release, Hayut has launched a website offering business advice.

Hayut had also previously served two years in jail in Finland back in 2015, after being busted for defrauding three other women.

According to People magazine, Hayut has taken an estimated $10 million from lonely women over the years – convincing them that he was “in danger” and his bank accounts had been frozen due to a mysterious “breach of security”.

But he maintains that his upcoming interview will dismiss all the various allegations and prove his innocence.

He says: “I will share my side of the story in the next few days when I have sorted out the best and most respectful way to tell it, both to the involved parties and myself.

“Until then,” he adds, “please keep an open mind and heart”.

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