Hey! It’s Steffi O. and I’m captaining the So You Don’t Have To ship yet again because the gorgeous, gorgeous Astor is relishing this time away from you. Such betrayal, I know. But it’s forgivable because this week, I’ll be recapping the deeply infuriating British true-crime documentary film, Tinder Swindler.

Tinder Swindler documents the failed attempt at the love of three British women that left Nigerian women shouting “God forbid.” The documentary premiered on Netflix on the 2nd February 2022, sparking a much-needed discussion on hypergamy; the whimsical belief that Cinderella’s story isn’t just a fictional story. The main theme is based on the delusional belief that people like Jeff Bezos casually sign up on Tinder with the hope of finding love in the sea of hopeless romantics. 

The doc starts with what seems like an ad for love, listing all the reasons you should find it on Tinder. Like an all-you-can-eat buffet, the first two love-struck women, Cecilie Fjellhøy and Ayleen Charlotte and the best friend, Pernilla Sjoholm, describe the different types of weird men you can find roaming these Tinder streets. I’ll give it to Tinder’s legal team on this one, though. It was a smart way to let us know that, regardless of the documentary’s title, the shit that went down in the film has absolutely nothing to do with the app.

What they really meant

As they continue to spew lies from the pit of hell, the women swipe through profiles of people that look relatively normal. But of course, normal is never enough. We finally get to the swindler’s profile, a man named Simon Leviev, and a tag that says billionaire’s son as his name is typed in on google. 

After Pernilla proceeds to throw in a clause on googling names before saying yes to a date, she swipes right for a match on Simon’s profile and heads to destruction with her co- victim, Cecilie Fjellhøy. Next, a subtle confession from Pernilla on the reason she swiped on Simon Levieve’s page, a short segment of the shit that goes down with the fake billionaire playboy from Israel.

Probably sis

Ominous music plays and in the next scene, the women recap their initially magical relationship with the billionaire son who’s really a fraudulent pauper. 

Cecilie is up first and continues with her slightly irritating explainer on love as she recalls the fairytale from Disney classic, Beauty and the beast. She goes on about the similarities between her and Belle, as she tries to connect dots between real life and a movie about sentient kitchenware. Anyway, like Belle, she’s waiting for her charming prince. Let’s just note that Cecilie has been on Tinder for 7 years in two different countries and has connected with 1024 men. Talk about a stellar record for chasing men online. 

Cecilie describes her prince charming as a handsome beach lover looking for long-term love. She quotes Marilyn Monroe’s famous line from the movie, Gentlemen Like Blondes, as a less than subtle hint that her dream man has to have a shit ton of wealth. And because of that, Cecilia decides that Simon Lieve is the Beast to her Belle and swipes right on his profile.

Once she swipes right on his profile, Simon immediately texts for them to link up at the four seasons, which should’ve been the first red flag tbh. Cecilie arrives and waits nervously at the hotel reception, the elevator door finally opens and Simon Leviev walks out, introducing himself to Cecilie as the CEO of LLD Diamonds, son of the billionaire, Lev Leviev, The Prince of Diamonds. Cecilie is immediately caught up in his web of lies. 

Is Google non-existent in Europe? Or am I missing something? 

Simon blows Cecilie’s mind by flying her to Bulgaria on his private jet. Cecilie explicitly said she’d be stupid to pass on the offer. Only one part of that sentence made any sense, but we won’t get into that. She messages her surprisingly sane friends who tell her it’s shady stuff but she types YOLO.  

Things progress and like every playboy, Simon balances out the lies with hints of truths. Why? To make Cecilie feel comfortable. The plan works. Even after confessing about the dangerous men that are out to kill him, she decides to stick by him.  He even confesses to being an ex-convict in Israel, but Cecilie sees it as a chance to prove her love to him by saving him, which is exactly what he wants her to think. 

He continues to woo her in the following weeks, sending her flowers and flying to Oslo by 1 a.m. to spend time with her at her parents place. Please remember that this is a man dangerous men are already after. Cecilie also gives him a cute book on how to date a Norwegian girl and 11 things she lovesabout him. Cute stuff right? 

After a few months,  Cecilie finally begins to question why a billionaire’s son is randomly on Tinder and could possibly be a player. She doesn’t think as far as him being a fraud yet, but at least she’s thinking now. She goes online to check his Tinder profile and finds out he’s been active in a different country. When she confronts him, he denies everything and basically tells her she’s blind and has no clue what she’s talking about. 

Next up is Pernilla Sjoholm

Pernilla Sjoholm is based in Stockholm and swipes right on Simon’s profile as soon as she sees it. He texts immediately and asks her out to dinner. They meet up and spend the evening doing a shit ton of expensive shit. (Insert picture of Simon and Pernilla painting the town red)

By the end of the evening, she lets us know he was too short to be her type and wanted to just be friends. 

Again, lies.

By the next day, she sends an “I miss you” text to Simon and slowly falls for the short guy she wanted to simply befriend. Immediately after this, Simon asks her to come on a trip to Amsterdam with him and she sends her passport details for him to book the ticket.

Like I said last week, there’s some kind of epidemic going on abroad 

As Simon jets between cities and his two ladies, the plans he has starts going into full gear. First, he sends a picture to Celilie with him and his bodyguard beaten up and bruised at the hospital. Celilie panics and he uses this staged tragedy to conveniently ask for her a credit card he can use that won’t be tracked by the people trying to kill him.As the Belle of this sad love story, Celilie doesn’t hesitate to save the love of her life. She orders a platinum American Express credit card and ships it off to Simon that evening.

In a few days, the credit card is maxed out and he sends a receipt with a credit of $2250 that never gets to her account. He then asks her to get on a plane to Amsterdam and bring $25,000 cash because it’ll be untraceable. Blinded by love, Celilie uses the hands that could have easily typed “How is Lev Liviev’s son broke” to search  “How to get a quick loan.” Again, God forbid.

She gets the cash and her biggest fear is getting caught by airport security. When she gets to Simon, he tells her how grateful he is for his little Belle keeping him safe. Next, his bodyguard, Peter, informs him of a security breach and Simon decides to delete his Instagram account for safety. He also asks Cecilie to make her account private so his enemies can’t get him through her.

Peter calls again later that evening and asks Simon to turn off the lights in the apartment and get on the plane outside. Cecilie is distraught as her prince charming is whisked away to Stockholm for safety. All this danger and the prince leaves his princess in the apartment that’s under attack.

Anyway, when Simon arrives in Stockholm, he texts Pernilla for a very spontaneous rendezvous that makes her feel special. They end up at a nightclub with an ocean of women rubbing up against Simon. Simon is going hard with the girls and blowing Cecilie’s loan for the night. Pernilla is  not impressed (maybe jealous) and decides to leave and link up the next day.

By the next day, our sexy Israeli playboy is in Sweden with a maxed out credit card. He calls Cecilie and asks her to call Cecilie to fix the issue and get the credit limit up. To do this, she needed to be employed to show credibility to the back. So Simon signs her up as an employee at LLD Diamond and asks Cecilie for her passport details to complete the profile. Honestly, at this point I wanted the film to end, but I stayed for you.

The plan works and Cecilie is on the LLD Diamond payroll earning $94,263 per month. Successfully pulling off the charade, Simon is back to the spontaneous trips around Europe. Only this time, he takes his Belle, Cecilie and his bestie, Pernilla. 

A crime-filled threesome for Valentine’s Day anyone?

Simon credits the account with $250,000 but the money doesn’t drop immediately and Cecilie bankrolls the whole trip. She takes out loans to pay for business class tickets, expensive meals, and luxurious trips. They fly from Mykonos to Paris, Vienna, Switzerland, and Rome. Cecilie is basically taking out $20,000 every two days. Please note that the $250,000 never got to her account. 

She still believes it’s her life’s mission to save Simon and he plays right into it. He sends a voice note while he’s in Amsterdam and lets her know that everything they’re going through together is for life. Wasn’t that her cue to run? By the end of the trip, Cecilie is in debt for $250,000 and she’s slowly getting agitated. 

Simon asks her to fly to Amsterdam to pick up a check worth more than he owes to prove he’s still the “Prince of Diamonds.” Of course the check bounces and at this point, she breaks down as she recounts the experience on the documentary. 

When Did The Tinder Swindler Happen? Simon's Con Timeline Explained

Next, she decides to be with her mum in Oslo and blocks Simon. I just wondered whether she had amnesia. This is a man that had her credit card details, passport and parents’ address. So blocking him on Whatsapp was useless. 

When she gets to Oslo, there’s a message on her mother’s landline waiting for her. It’s Simon. He drops a weird cryptic message: “To action, there’s a reaction.” Our swindler was quoting Newton’s law. 

Once he knew it was over with Cecilie, he moved to Pernilla. He pulls out the same pictures he sent to Cecilie about being attacked by dangerous men and asks for $30,000.

Unsuspecting Pernilla was in a tight spot, but she decides to also take out a loan for her billionaire friend. Cecilie, on the other hand, is drowning in debt from nine loan companies and checks herself into a psychiatric ward. She’s now on a mission to expose Simon. 

It turns out his real name is Shimon Hiyut and articles pop up on his fraudulent activities with three women in Finland three years ago. It turns out that his ex-wife was one of the victims that testified against him. So why was she going on trips with him after being released? At this point, Cecilie is infuriated and is ready to expose her charming prince.

The latest on Tinder Swindler Simon Leviev and his victims - CNET

When love clears from your eyes

So she contacts a Norwegian newspaper agency and shares her Whatsapp conversation with the journalists who agree to run the story. They do more investigations and contact an Israeli journalist, Uri Blau, and he finds Shimon’s last address in a shantytown in Israel. 

They meet his mother and she claims she has had no contact with Shimon since he turned 18. The mother denies everything like a hard criminal and storms into her apartment. 

Reaching another dead end, the journalists decide to speak to the police officers that confirm Simon Liviev and Shimon Yehuda Hayut were the same people. Turns out the guy had been a fraud since his late teens; stealing from former employers and forging papers. He had been wanted by the police but he was able to flee the country. With all this information, Simon was still missing and Pernilla was the key. 

Erlend Arntsen, one of the Norwegian journalists, reached out to Pernilla on Facebook. At this point, she had already loaned him $40,000, so when she saw the text, she’s losing her shit. 

Everything continues to unfold, they finally see that he’s a bloody liar using love-struck women to fund his lifestyle. At this point Pernilla is enraged and decides to lead them to Simon on a trip they planned to Munich. The journalists trace Pernilla to a hotel and hide across the street taking pictures. Things go left from there because they need to take lessons from John Wick. Simon notices the camera man and he shoves Pernilla in a car as he zooms off.

Luckily, Pernilla’s cover isn’t blown and they’re able to keep tabs on Simon. 

In the next scene Pernilla confronts him about being a fraud and he loses his shit over the phone. Simon denies everything and let’s Pernilla know there will be a price if she crosses him. Like any normal human being, she’s frightened because no sane person signs up to be with a conman.

For her protection, she decides to make it public and most of the internet questions her sanity. I believe most of those people were angry Nigerians. 

Eventually, the post about the Tinder Swindler gets to a Dutch woman (money bag), Ayleen, also dating Simon. She immediately sends it to him on Whatsapp and confronts him. I don’t know why these women kept expecting him to admit he was a criminal. Why?

Of course Simon denies everything and she recaps the same story we’ve heard Cecilie and Pernilla narrate about falling in love with a billionaire’s son and ending up in tears. 

Along the way, Ayleen let’s us know that a scorned woman is the deadliest enemy. She decides to play the players game and keeps up with her role of the love-struck girlfriend. She had a plan. Ayleen keeps up with sending him texts, calling Cecilie and Pernilla bitches and gold diggers, telling him she trusts him wholeheartedly and other irritating things lovers do. 

Ayleen’s plan is to sell everything Simon owns and cash out on some of the money he lost. An entrepreneurial queen. Simon eventually catches up, but it’s a little too late. At this point, the “Prince of Diamonds” changed his name to the “Homeless king.” They still couldn’t arrest him, but at least he was losing his shit.

After weeks of grovelling at Ayleen’s feet, Simon decides to change his name and leave Amsterdam for Prague. With his luck run out, Ayleen catches up on his plans and leaks his travel details and fake name, David Sharon, to Interpol. 

Simon was arrested at the airport and the first person he texts to help is Ayleen. They finally won! At least for fifteen months.

Our dear swindler was released and is still living his baby boy lifestyle. Only this time, he has a business page where he gives business advice for $311. It’s the audacity for me. Anyway, Simon is back on Tinder while Cecilie, Pernilla, and Ayeesha are still paying off their debt almost six years later. 

If there was ever a definition of life is a pot of beans, this is it. I suggest you denounce everything and anything that has to do with love, but don’t allow my bitterness spoil your Valentine’s Day plans. Jus



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.