TV & Movies

The Tinder Swindler Podcast Just Dropped 5 New Truth Bombs

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Struggling to wrap your head around the hundreds of plot-twists in The Tinder Swindler? Well, it turns out Netflix’s documentary on Simon Leviev — an Israeli fraudster who met women on Tinder and tricked them into loaning him money — barely scratches the surface.

On the show’s sister podcast The Making of The Swindler, filmmakers Felicity Morris and Bernadette Higgins pull back the curtains on the actual process of making the documentary, along with sharing a few new revelations that didn’t make the series. Here’s what we learned from episodes one and two (the third and final instalment is due on Feb. 16).

Simon’s bodyguard was also his right-hand-man

In the Making of The Swindler, Morris and Higgins dig more deeply into the relationship between Simon and his business partner, Avishay, who apparently played an “active role” in the con. Ayleen – who also features in the documentary – reveals that Avi would call and text her asking for money after she stopped replying to Simon. The filmmakers also claim that Avi’s name appears on some of Cecilie’s American Express card bills — suggesting Simon had been paying for his flights. The pair have apparently known each other since childhood. Filmmakers say they’ve seen photos of Simon and Avi as kids, and claim that the bodyguard must’ve known what Simon was up to. When he was arrested in Finland in 2015, under his real name, Shimon Hayut, Avi paid his bill.

There are plenty of stories that didn’t make the final doc

On the podcast, we hear from multiple other sources who either didn’t end up on the final cut for The Tinder Swindler, or declined to appear on camera. One woman who was dating Simon at the same time as Cecilie and Ayleen tells the filmmakers that after Simon bought clothes for himself from Gucci, he took her to pick something from the Sale rack at Zara instead. The filmmakers also track down Simon’s chauffeur, who recalls thinking that he was working for “some flamboyant kid from a rich dad.” Further down the line, he was offered a high-salary job that never materialised. Elsewhere, Morris and Higgins also reveal that they’ve been in touch with the woman who had a child with Simon, and that he went to prison for using her credit cards. Ultimately, she didn’t want to get involved in the project.

One victim got arrested

One victim was even arrested after being involved with the Swindler. Interviewed on the podcast, Courtney first met Simon while they were both working “on the hair straighteners and extensions section” at a Cyprus shopping mall. She was later talked into working for him, and unknowingly attempted to hire him a car with his fraudulent credit cards. Eventually she was acquitted when the police realised she’d been duped.

We hear more of his “love-bombing” tactics

On The Tinder Swindler, women shared Simon’s voice notes from their messaging archives — and on the accompanying podcast, Morris and Higgins unpick some of his manipulation methods in more detail. On episode one, we hear Simon trying to persuade Cecilie that he’s proven his commitment by introducing her to his family, despite the fact that intense meeting took place on their very first date. “That was a classic Simon tactic,” Higgins says. And in episode two, the presenters air a voice note in which he threatens Ayleen and becomes unpleasant and abusive when she begins to question their relationship.


He even tried to swindle Netflix

At the end of The Tinder Swindler, the film states that Simon Leviev declined to take part in the documentary — but The Making Of A Swindler, reveals the true extent of his communication with the filmmakers.

“I don’t want to be participating in something I don’t have control over,” he told them in a voice note, which plays on the podcast. “You’re not going to represent the truth, you’re going to represent what will sell more, and this is going to be a problem. As soon as I see something that is not right, my lawyers will be more than happy to sue.”

Afterwards, filmmakers claim he “bombarded” them with articles praising his work – in one of these pieces, he claims that Netflix made him a “lucrative offer” to make a film about his life. When Netflix went along with the ruse and called Leviev to ask about the series, he ghosted them altogether. “Now, even we were being given roles in the fantasy of his life,” joke the presenters.