He has seduced and swindled young women for millions and is a fugitive from justice in several countries.
He finds his victims on the dating app Tinder and then seduces them with travel by private jet, luxury hotels and expensive dinners.
They believe they are dating a wealthy business man, but other women he has swindled are paying for the luxury.
VG has spent six months chasing the swindler across several continents. We found him in Munich – at one of Europe’s most fashionable hotels.
Cecilie Schrøder Fjellhøy of Lillestrøm is one of the women who has reported him for fraud.
For months, she believed they were in a relationship and was in daily contact with him. She has given VG access to all text messages, pictures and videos exchanged between them.
The man Cecilie had met is named Simon Leviev. During the trip he was surrounded by a bodyguard, a business partner and secretary.
Cecilie finds it reassuring that there are other people there. She flies home to London the next day. Simon travels onward.
Cecilie is overwhelmed. She asks herself: «Will I see him again?»
They flirt daily. The next week, he returns to London to visit her.
Simon says that the threats against him are so serious that he can’t visit Cecilie in London.
«You need to avoid leaving a digital trail.» Simon says that his security team has given him explicit instructions.
The day after they met in Oslo, he asks Cecilie for a favour.
Every morning, Cecilie wakes up to a message from Simon: «Good morning, dear. Did you sleep well?» Since January, they have chatted every single day.
During spring, they meet twice in Amsterdam, once in March and once in April.
Cecilie is happy to have time alone with Simon, who’s usually surrounded by people.
They talk about renting a flat together in London as soon as Simon’s security situation is stable. While he travels around the world, she attends open houses.
Cecilie is out with friends in London when she suddenly gets a very unpleasant message.
Simon has talked a lot about the threats, but they seem a lot more real now that Cecilie has seen what can happen.
Simon sends Cecilie a document that is supposed to show that he has repaid the money she loaned him. The document turns out to be false.
Cecilie feels like she is doing everything for Simon, but is only getting requests for money in return. To give him one last chance, she invites him to Oslo.
Cecilie realises that the money is gone and the affection is not mutual. She cuts off all contact with Simon.
Cecilie reports Simon in both Norway and England. Shortly afterwards, she contacts VG and shares her documentation.
The man Cecilie believed was her boyfriend was convicted of major fraud against three Finnish women, in 2015. She recognises her own situation in the stories of the Finnish victims.
Cecilie had taken out loans from ten banks to help Simon. When the bubble burst, her mother Toril helped her deal with the banks.
VG travels to Simon’s home country of Israel to look for him. Beforehand, we had received help from the well-respected investigative journalist Uri Blau to find out more about who Simon really is.
The journalist tells us he’s found the address for the home where Simon grew up. He takes VG there.
The police investigator, Hanny Giladi, tell us that Simon had been charged with theft, forgery and fraud back in 2011. He never showed up in court, but fled to Europe.
In 2017, a new criminal case was opened against Simon Leviev, who was born Shimon Yehuda Hayut, in Israel. Once again, he never showed up.
Cecilie’s bank statement shows that Simon used her money for airline tickets for Swedish Pernilla Sjoholm. When VG contacts Pernilla, she understands that she’s been swindled.
Simon got transferred more than 400,000 NOK from Pernilla. She has also given him airline tickets to Bangkok, she says.
She is shocked and angry when she learns that Simon has swindled other women, but does not confront him.
Instead, she agrees to meet him in Munich. She then informs VG about the meeting.
Before the meeting Pernilla asks Simon for a guarantee that she will get her money back. He says he will give her a valuable watch.
Pernilla explains that her relationship to Simon was romantic in the beginning, but became a close friendship.
They met for the first time in March 2018. It was not until eight months later that he asked to borrow money.
Pernilla wants to stop Simon, so she gives VG information on where they’re meeting.
Simon gave Pernilla this watch in Munich. Back in Stockholm, she has a watchmaker look at it and says he tells her it’s a fake.
A few days after the encounter in Munich, Pernilla comes to Oslo to confront Simon with VG present.
Pernilla has reported Simon for aggravated fraud through social manipulation and threats.
VG has repeatedly tried to talk to Simon Leviev, but without success. His Israeli lawyer, Yaki Kahan, tells VG that he has lost contact with his client.
Simon Leviev is wanted by the police in Israel, and reported for fraud in Sweden, England, Germany, Denmark and Norway. Norwegian police dropped the investigation.
In June 2019 he was still at large.
Updates January 2022:
In the end of June 2019, Simon Leviev was arrested by Greek police in Athens, and later extradited to Israel.
In December 2019 he was convicted to 15 months in jail for theft and fraud in Israel.
Simon Leviev was released after five months because of good behaviour. Apparently he lives as a free man in Tel Aviv.