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‘Tinder Swindler’ said wanted in Spain over use of allegedly fake Israeli ID

Court issues ‘search and arrest’ warrant for person later believed to be Shimon Hayut, Israeli conman and subject of popular Netflix documentary

'Tinder Swindler,' a true-crime documentary about Israeli con man Shimon Hayut, was released on Netflix, on Februay 2, 2022. (Courtesy: Netflix)
'Tinder Swindler,' a true-crime documentary about Israeli con man Shimon Hayut, was released on Netflix, on Februay 2, 2022. (Courtesy: Netflix)

Shimon Hayut, the Israeli fraudster widely known as the “The Tinder Swindler” following a popular Netflix true-crime documentary this year by that name, is said to be wanted in Spain for a 2019 incident in which he allegedly presented a falsified Israeli driver’s license to police.

A court in Algeciras, a city in the province of Cádiz, Andalusia near the Strait of Gibraltar, has an active “search and arrest” warrant for an Israeli citizen who is believed to really be Hayut, Spanish media reported earlier this month. The reports were picked up by the UK’s Daily Mail and Hebrew-language media over the weekend.

Spanish authorities launched criminal proceedings in February 2019 following a police complaint a month prior when Hayut is said to have parked a Maserati on the beach in Tarifa, on the southernmost end of the Iberian Peninsula, and the vehicle got stuck on the sands of Los Lances Sur, a popular windsurfing destination.

Hayut was asked to come to a local police station, presenting an Israeli driver’s license under the name of Michael Bilton. Traffic violation proceedings were initially issued against Bilton, but according to a report in local news outlet La Voz De Cadiz, police have since asked that judicial authorities register Hayut as the offender and re-open the case under his name.

The search-and-arrest warrant was filed in 2020 when “Bilton” failed to show up for court proceedings.

The local report said the ID Hayut allegedly presented to police was determined to be false following an examination carried out by a municipal agent specializing in document falsification, who also saw the Netflix documentary when it was released in February this year and contacted the Norwegian director behind it.

Shimon Hayut with one of his victims. (Screengrab)

The Investigation and Analysis Group of the Civil Guard Traffic Group in Seville was conducting an analysis of the document to confirm it was falsified, according to La Voz De Cadiz.

The Canarian Weekly, an English-language news site based in the Canary Islands, posted photos of the Maserati on the beach, as well as what looks to be the license, and a person who appears to be Hayut with an unnamed blonde woman standing next to a police car.

Hayut previously served two and a half years in a Finnish prison after being found guilty of defrauding three women. He was also sentenced to 15 months in an Israeli prison after being convicted of four fraud charges, but was released after five months.

Shimon Hayut, the so-called ‘Tinder Swindler,’ is expelled from the city of Athens, Greece, on July 1, 2019. (Tore Kristiansen/Various sources/AFP)

He was at the center of “The Tinder Swindler,” a two-hour documentary released earlier this year and directed by Felicity Morris, which tells the story of several women whose hearts and wallets were captured by Hayut. The con man presented himself as Simon Leviev, the son of Israeli Russian diamond tycoon Lev Leviev.

He refused to appear in the documentary, but later defended himself in an interview with Inside Edition as a “legit businessman” who was also “just a single guy that wanted to meet some girls on Tinder.”

“I was surprised how many girls wanted me and how many girls offered to travel to meet me without them knowing me,” he said. “I’m not this monster that everybody has created,” he added.

“I’m a legit businessman,” he said, denying any wrongdoing and claiming the women interviewed in the Netflix documentary “weren’t conned and they weren’t threatened.”

He also denied ever presenting himself as the son of Leviev. Asked how was able to fund his lavish lifestyle, he said he had bought bitcoin in 2011. “I don’t need to say how much it’s worth now.”

Hayut said he had no regrets.

“[Do] I feel bad for something I didn’t do? No, I feel bad for whatever happened to myself. I want to clear my name, I want to say to the world this is not true,” he said.

Coming to Hayut’s defense was Israeli model Kate Konlin, who is currently dating him.

Israeli con man Shimon Hayut and Israeli model Kate Konlin speak with Inside Edition, on February 21, 2022. (Screenshot/YouTube via Inside Edition)

She told Inside Edition that Hayut has never borrowed any money from her, referring to the documentary and the accusations it makes as “a fake story.”

Following the documentary’s release on February 2, the three alleged victims of Hayut who shared their stories on the Netflix documentary — Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjoholm, and Ayleen Charlotte — launched a crowdfunding campaign, hoping to raise enough money to clear their debts.

The documentary landed on top of the streaming giant’s global weekly viewing chart in mid-February, becoming the first documentary released by Netflix to lead the prestigious ranking.

Tinder, the dating platform that enabled Hayut’s activity, has banned the con man from the app.

Tobias Siegal and Jessica Steinberg contributed to this report. 

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