Cecilie Fjellhoy (pictured) thought she had finally met her prince charming in 2019 when she matched on Tinder with 'Simon Leviev' - a supposed handsome billionaire playboy who organised a private plane to take them to Bulgaria from London on their first date


A woman who says she was conned by a serial fraudster who posed as the son of a billionaire Israeli diamond merchant to swindle women he dated out of thousands of pounds has said she refuses to give up on love despite her ‘painful’ experience.

Cecilie Fjellhoy thought she had finally met her prince charming in 2019 when she matched on Tinder with ‘Simon Leviev’ – a supposed handsome billionaire playboy who organised a private plane to take them to Bulgaria from London on their first date.

Fjellhoy, 29 at the time, was a Norwegian graduate student living in the British capital when she was swept off her feet by the self-proclaimed, ‘Prince of Diamonds’, then 28.

However, the fairytale romance soon turned sour when Fjellhoy was left in over £200,000 of debt, she says, because of Simon, who was actually Shimon Hayut, a convicted conman who served three years in Finnish prison for defrauding several women in order to fund his lavish lifestyle of private jets, fast cars and luxury hotels. 

He would shower women he met on the dating app with lavish trips and gifts, using money he had taken from other victims. He would then ask for more funds under the guise of needing to protect his identity due to security concerns. 

His victims have now shared their story in The Tinder Swindler, a new Netflix true crime documentary which is premiering on February 2. 

Speaking on ITV’s Lorraine ahead of the show’s release, Fjellhoy admitted she wasn’t going to give up on love – and explained that she had been victim-blamed and called a gold-digger after sharing her story.

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Cecilie Fjellhoy (pictured) thought she had finally met her prince charming in 2019 when she matched on Tinder with 'Simon Leviev' - a supposed handsome billionaire playboy who organised a private plane to take them to Bulgaria from London on their first date

Cecilie Fjellhoy (pictured) thought she had finally met her prince charming in 2019 when she matched on Tinder with ‘Simon Leviev’ – a supposed handsome billionaire playboy who organised a private plane to take them to Bulgaria from London on their first date

She explained in the doc that she was completely wooed by Shimon after he flew them from Bulgaria from London via a private plane for their first date

 Fjellhoy (pictured with Hayut), 29 at the time, was a Norwegian graduate student living in the British capital when she was swept off her feet by the self-proclaimed, ‘Prince of Diamonds’, then 28

Israeli playboy Shimon Hayut lured in trusting women by claiming he was Simon Leviev, the son of businessman Lev Leviev, who has an estimated $1billion net worth. He called himself the 'Prince of Diamonds'. He was arrested in July 2019 in Greece, above

Israeli playboy Shimon Hayut lured in trusting women by claiming he was Simon Leviev, the son of businessman Lev Leviev, who has an estimated $1billion net worth. He called himself the ‘Prince of Diamonds’. He was arrested in July 2019 in Greece, above

Fjellhoy said: ‘I think what happened was so extraordinary and it was such a weird and movie like what it was, and I didn’t want to put that on other men, it’s not other men’s fault what he did to me.

‘And he’s taken so much from us. I didn’t want him to take that part of me, that truly believes in love and I’m still trying but it’s been painful.’

Fjellhoy, who appeared on the programme alongside another of Hayut’s victims Pernilla Sjoholm, admitted that after sharing her story, she was victim-blamed.

‘We kind of knew it might come, but to be called a gold-digger for giving out money, like we said, we must be the worst gold-diggers in history.’

Fjellhoy, who is now bankrupt in the UK but whose loans are mostly in Norway, says she was conned out of more than £200,000 by Hayut. 

‘The thing is that they are very smart about it,’ she told presenter Lorraine Kelly. ‘He doesn’t ask for money the first time, it’s more security of the name. 

‘I know it’s the same thing but when you’re in it, he’s asking “I can’t use my cards, like they’re going to track my name, can I use your card?” So that’s how they started it.’

Speaking on ITV's Lorraine, Fjellhoy (pictured) admitted she wasn't going to give up on love - and explained that she had been victim-blamed and called a gold-digger after sharing her story

Speaking on ITV’s Lorraine, Fjellhoy (pictured) admitted she wasn’t going to give up on love – and explained that she had been victim-blamed and called a gold-digger after sharing her story

Fjellhoy, who is now bankrupt in the UK but whose loans are mostly in Norway, says she was conned out of more than £200,000 by Hayut (pictured)

Fjellhoy, who is now bankrupt in the UK but whose loans are mostly in Norway, says she was conned out of more than £200,000 by Hayut (pictured)

Sjoholm added: ‘He’s very smart in what he’s doing, especially he knows how to play his character, depending on who’s he with, he adapts his personality, and adapts his entire persona.’ 

She continued: ‘I sort of think it’s not the worst part that he did, the money, the money really affects you but it’s also about what it does psychologically to you, and breaks you down.’

Sjoholm said that she shared the story in the hope of taking away the victim blaming, adding: ‘We really want to take that away, you should accuse the criminal and not the victim.’ 

Israeli playboy Hayut lured in trusting women by claiming he was Simon Leviev, the son of businessman Lev Leviev, who has an estimated $1billion net worth.

In reality Hayut was a serial fraudster who used his charm to prey on unsuspecting singletons using online dating apps, earning him the moniker the ‘Tinder swindler’.   

Hayut was eventually arrested and imprisoned in December 2019 at Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, according to The Times Of Israel, but released the following May, after serving five months of his 15-month sentence. 

Fjellhoy, who appeared on the programme alongside another of Hayut's victims Pernilla Sjoholm (pictured), admitted that after sharing her story, she was victim-blamed

Fjellhoy, who appeared on the programme alongside another of Hayut’s victims Pernilla Sjoholm (pictured), admitted that after sharing her story, she was victim-blamed

Presenter Lorraine (left) pictured with Cecilie Fjellhoy (centre) and Pernilla Sjoholm (right)

Presenter Lorraine (left) pictured with Cecilie Fjellhoy (centre) and Pernilla Sjoholm (right)

According to an investigative report by Norway’s Verdens Gang newspaper, Hayut conned women in Norway, Finland and Sweden out of hundreds of thousands of dollars using a Ponzi scheme. 

He would shower women he met on the dating app with lavish trips and gifts, using money he had taken from other women. He would then ask for more money under the guise of needing to protect his identity due to security concerns. 

Hayut told Fjellhoy that he had to travel constantly for work and that it was hard for him to visit her in London due to threats from working in the diamond business, it has been reported.

The conman first asked Fjellhoy to take out a line of credit for him in her name just four weeks into their relationship, claiming that it was a security measure due to threats against him.

He spent the money on plane tickets, hotels and dinners that were booked under her name to throw off suspicious ‘enemies’. 

‘One of the main reasons why he needed it was protection…he needed my name as a cover, he said,’ Fjellhoy told Nightline in 2019. ‘I know it sounds crazy…[but] why would he have this giant guy with him if he didn’t need the protection?,’ she said, apparently referring to a bodyguard.

Fjellhoy said Hayut promised to pay her back but, as the weeks rolled by, her balance went up and up.

Hayut (pictured with Fjellhoy) was eventually arrested and imprisoned in December 2019 at Tel Aviv Magistrate¿s Court, according to The Times Of Israel, but released the following May, after serving five months of his 15-month sentence

Hayut (pictured with Fjellhoy) was eventually arrested and imprisoned in December 2019 at Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, according to The Times Of Israel, but released the following May, after serving five months of his 15-month sentence

She claims that she filled out documents for an American Express platinum card on his instructions and he told her to file an income of £200,000. The alleged conman assured her no one was going to check it.   

Fjellhoy told Norwegian news site Verdens Gang that she took the handsome young Israeli at his word.  She took out huge loans for the card and claimed Hayut was soon maxing out the limit.

Hayut spent two million Norwegian krone ($224,220) in just 54 days and was racking up bills on paying for his two assistants, his bodyguard and flights across the world.  

Her money was being spent on Louboutins in Bangkok, on Gucci in Barcelona, at the Ritz Carlton in Berlin and the Conservatory in Amsterdam. 

‘I had to be put into a hospital. Psychiatric ward,’ Fjellhoy told Nightline.

‘Because of suicidal thoughts because I thought my life was over, like I didn’t see a way out. You’ve lost your boyfriend but he didn’t just dump you, he never existed, he was never your boyfriend.’

During the sentencing hearing, the conman (above) told the court he was 'sorry about everything' and promised to 'pay my debt to society'

During the sentencing hearing, the conman (above) told the court he was ‘sorry about everything’ and promised to ‘pay my debt to society’

A Finnish woman, identified by the initial, ‘D’, said Hayut had conned her out of 45,000 euros ($49,000).

‘I’m a single mom to a daughter and I gave him all the savings I had. It’s a disgrace that they released him from prison. I hope he gets the coronavirus. I hope he dies. That’s better, so he won’t hurt other women,’ she told Channel 12.

‘He’s a bad person, and I haven’t been able to rebuild my life because of him to this day. Myself and some other women filed lawsuits against him with the European Court of Justice and submitted complaints against him with Interpol.’

Hayut was arrested in the summer of 2019 in Greece in a joint operation between Interpol and Israel Police, according to The Times Of Israel. 

During the sentencing hearing, the conman told the court he was ‘sorry about everything’ and promised to ‘pay my debt to society’. 

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. 

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