Netflix has announced a new docu-series about a playboy conman on Tinder who posed as a Russian oligarch to defraud women, having shared a teaser for the show as part of a trailer for its forthcoming true crime slate:
The Tinder Swindler is a new film from RAW TV, the production company that brought us such mind-boggling documentaries as Don’t F*** With Cats and Three Identical Strangers.
Directed by Felicity Morris, the series is due to premiere on Netflix in February 2022, with a synopsis saying: “The Tinder Swindler tells the jaw-dropping story of a prolific conman who posed as a billionaire playboy on Tinder, and the women who set out to bring him down.“
The programme – which Netflix picked up the rights for earlier this year – shines a light on an Israeli man called Shimon Hayut, who presented himself on the dating app as Russian oligarch Simon Leviev, the son of Russian-Israeli diamond mogul Lev Leviev.
He would whisk women away to luxury hotels on private jets and treat them to fancy dinners, later tricking them into giving him thousands of dollars.
According to Engadget, Hayut had to flee Europe twice to escape theft, forgery and fraud charges in his home country, and would spend months pretending to be in a relationship with his targets before asking for money.
He was eventually imprisoned in December 2019 by the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, but was released after completing five months of a 15-month sentence.
One Finnish woman, identified by the initial ‘D’, said she had been conned out of €45,000 (£38,000/$49,000) by Hayut, the Times of Israel reports.
She told Israeli TV station Channel 12: “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.
“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.”
Along with The Tinder Swindler, other true crime titles set to be released on Netflix include Tiger King 2, the long-awaited sequel to 2020’s hit documentary about Joe Exotic and co, documentary film Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King and docu-series Bad Vegan.
Speaking about its upcoming slate in a blog post, Netflix said: “Stories about real crimes have captivated audiences since the dawn of media, from the old days of town criers and tabloids to today’s podcasts and social media.
“As we’ve seen since our Emmy Award-winning series Making A Murderer first pierced the culture in 2015, documentaries can also meet that curiosity by immersing viewers in a true story to dissect its complexities and make sense of the unexpected.
“Now as we explore the spectrum of true crime, one particularly riveting area is that of cons, scams, and cautionary tales.
“For example, earlier this year our series Heist revealed how ordinary people almost got away with extraordinary cons, This Is A Robbery examined a still-unsolved art theft, and Cocaine Cowboys: Kings of Miami chronicled the rise and fall of drug kingpins.
“Whether you want to dive into the psyche of a con artist, empathize with the victims of a scam, or piece together the puzzle of an investigation, these wild stories are often full of surprising twists and unusual perspectives.”