Former girlfriend of Netflix's Tinder Swindler Simon Leviev breaks silence and reveals why she stood by 'abusive' ex | The Sun
THE Tinder Swindler's former girlfriend has broken her silence and revealed why she stood by the conman.
Model Kate Konlin, 24, said she felt she had no choice but to publicly defend Simon Leviev when the Netflix doc aired as she was under his emotional control.
Leviev – real name is Shimon Heyada Hayut – was arrested in 2019 and jailed for 15 months for conning women out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The convicted con artist was the subject of Netflix's The Tinder Swindler – which clocked up 50million views in just one week and became Netflix's most-watched documentary.
The programme alleged Leviev had conned women he met on the dating app out of about $10million. He denies the allegations.
When the show was released, Kate defended Leviev, insisting he was a successful property dealer and claiming the doc was a web of lies.
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She claimed he had never asked to borrow her money and questioned "how someone can build such a fake story".
But the model, who once appeared on the cover of Vogue in Japan, has now spoken out about the abuse she faced during the 18-month relationship.
Speaking to the BBC one year after the documentary aired, she said she felt she had no choice but to publicly support Leviev.
Ukraine-born Kate started dating Leviev in 2020 after he sent her a message on Instagram.
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She described the initial stages of their whirlwind romance as"a love bomb" and said he was "obsessed" with her.
But Kate said the couple soon started arguing and Leviev would criticise her appearance, clothes, her weight and her skin.
She said she felt like she was "walking on eggshells" – and nobody knew the truth of the abusive relationship at the time.
After a few months, Kate said Leviev started asking to borrow thousands of dollars at a time – racking up a total of $150,000.
In one voice note heard by the BBC, Leviev explained why he couldn't pay back the loans.
He reportedly fumed: "Kate, I'm a millionaire! And that's a fact. At the moment, I'm stuck. Understand? I'm stuck!
"Do you understand that in your screwed-up brain? That bird brain of yours. I'm stuck, Kate. I didn't steal from you.
"You gave it to me of your own free will. You lent it to me. I'm stuck, that's all."
Kate said her ex has branded every woman who has spoken out against him a "liar".
When the documentary aired, Kate said she "knew it was all true" as she watched it next to him on the sofa.
But she said it was easy for Leviev to persuade her to defend him publicly.
"People told me they wished that I would get cancer or be run over by a car and that I deserved the worst of everything because I was in a relationship with him," Kate said.
Kate said she eventually decided to leave Leviev in March last year – shortly after the documentary was released.
But she said Leviev started an argument as she tried to leave and it turned physical.
Leviev pushed her and she cut her foot on a step, she claimed.
After going to hospital, she filed a police complaint against Leviev.
When approached by the BBC, Leviev said he has never physically harmed any woman, and claimed Kate was a "liar".
After nearly a year since the release of The Tinder Swindler, Kate said she wants to spread awareness of what an unhappy and controlling relationship can look like.
"If a woman who is in the same situation sees what I experienced and how I got out, and that today I am stronger and more beautiful than when I was with him, she will hopefully see that she can also leave," she told the BBC.
The Tinder Swindler doc saw three of Leviev's victims bravely share their stories for the almost two-hour film after they were unfortunate enough to swipe right on him via Tinder.
He then allegedly conned them out of hundreds of thousands of pounds, according to the documentary.
He reportedly claimed to be the "prince of diamonds" and a billionaire heir to the fortune of an Israeli magnate.
Leviev allegedly convinced his dates to fork out for everything from flights to making international bank transfers and always promised to pay them back.
But if they were given something in return, it was reportedly dodgy cheques which would bounce, or fake designer watches worth almost nothing.
He was finally caught out and thrown behind bars for 15 months in 2019.
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However, following good behaviour, he was freed after just five months.
Since The Tinder Swindler aired, victims have continued to come forward claiming Leviev stole thousands from them.
How you can get help
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
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