Israel requests extradition of Tinder fraudster
ATHENS (VG) On Monday, the so-called ‘Tinder fraudster’ Simon Leviev told VG he would be released within two hours. The Israeli authorities put a stop to that plan on Tuesday morning.
At the same time as Leviev was attempting to raise funds to pay the fine he had received yesterday totalling almost NOK 80,000 for using a fake passport, the Israeli authorities contacted the Greek police requesting the extradition of Simon Leviev to Israel.
– He is wanted for a number of different infringements of the law and for failing to attend court in Israel, Leviev’s Greek lawyer, Evangelos S. Karaindros tells VG.
Agrees to extradition
According to Karaindros, extradition may be quick.
– He consents to extradition and says that he wants to return as quickly as possible to Israel to clear his name, says his advocate.
The Israeli police now have 40 days to make all the formal arrangements to bring him home.
– If they do not send the documentation within 40 days, my client will be released, says Karaindros.
CAUGHT: Simon Leviev handcuffed outside the courthouse in Athens Tuesday.
Met his female friend
The so-called «Tinder fraudster» is standing on the pavement outside the office of the attorney general at the Athens Court of Appeal, flanked by two burly Greek plain clothes police officers, in handcuffs and together with a blonde woman. The two are chatting and embracing each other.
– Everything you have heard is a lie. Nothing the media writes is true. In a month, I will be a free man and you will get all your money back. And by the way, the police beat me up yesterday.
Leviev kisses the young woman before leaving the courthouse without speaking to VG’s reporter on the scene.
Leviev’s advocate refused to comment on the claim that his client had been beaten up in jail.
– I have no comment to make in that regard – I haven’t heard anything about it...
Earlier in the day, VG observed Leviev in conversation with his lawyers outside the Athens courtroom. At the time, he had several 100 Euro notes in his hand. His lawyers told VG that he was attempting to raise money to buy himself out of his 50-day jail sentence after he was stopped at Athens Airport with a fake passport.
Cecilie Fjellhøy and Pernilla Sjøholm are two of the Tinder fraudster’s many victims. They are relieved and pleased that the Israeli police want to extradite Leviev.
– We no longer have to worry that he can buy himself out. This is such good news! I really hope they cooperate with Interpol and that they include the cases in Europe in any prosecution against him. This case is an example of how important the media can be for individuals, Fjellhøy tells VG.
– What a relief! This is such good news. Finally he is getting what he deserves. I’m still wondering what is going to happen to our things, says another of his victims, Swede Pernilla Sjøholm.
This is not the first time that Leviev is facing trial in Israel.
VG has previously reported on how he was already accused of writing fake cheques in 2011. By the time the trial was due to begin in 2012, he had disappeared. According to the Israeli police, he headed to Europe.
In 2016, he was convicted of conning three Finnish women. A year later, he was forcibly extradited back to Israel from Finland.
By then, the charge sheet had grown to include other matters from 2010 and 2011:
- Theft of cheques worth 250,000 shekels (NOK 575,000, ed.) to buy a Porsche, which was registered in the name of his brother without his brother being aware of this.
- The sale of aforementioned car with the falsified consent of his brother.
- Falsification of a cheque worth 30,000 shekels (NOK 70,000, ed.) to pay for private pilots’ training, in addition to falsification of another cheque worth 50,000 shekels.
- On 26 November 2011, he purchased a fake passport in the name of «Mordechai Nisim Tapiro» for 10,000 shekels (NOK 23,000, ed.) and used it to cross the Jordanian border.
On this occasion, he also escaped justice and left Israel.
Sent to high security prison
Leviev will be moved today to a new prison while awaiting extradition to his home country.
– He will now be sent directly from the court of appeal to a new prison called Korydallos, says Karaindros.
Leviev is also under investigation for fraud in Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. At the time of publication, it has not been possible for VG to establish the views of the police in these respective countries now that Leviev has been arrested in Greece and is likely to be extradited to Israel.