Private jets, fraud and Tinder: These are the key words to describe the story about the Tinder swindler Simon Leviev. He seduced and swindled young women for millions and was a fugitive from justice in several countries. He found his victims on the dating app Tinder and then seduced them with a luxurious lifestyle.
They believed they were dating a wealthy businessman, but women he has swindled before were paying for everything. Norway’s biggest newspaper, VG, spent six months chasing him across several continents. They found him in Germany, at one of Europe’s most fashionable hotels. The story about the Tinder swindler has been read and shared all over the world. At the time of publication, the incredible storyline, combined with its innovative presentation, made it the most-read article of all time in VG.
Since it was published, new victims have come forward and told their stories. Before and after our initial publication VG interviewed women and families in Israel, the Netherlands, Germany, England, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the US who were scammed by the same man. Simon Leviev was arrested in Greece for using a false passport in July 2019. That created a lot of media attention around him. He is currently in prison in his home country of Israel serving a sentence for fraud crimes committed there.
The story in english
In the spring of 2019, a reporter and a photographer traveled the world in search of innovative climate technologies. They wanted to turn a spotlight on the innovative forces being unleashed to stop climate change. They shifted the focus from current climate disasters to find out what was actually being done.
Among others, they found the carbon “vacuum cleaner” on Iceland, an old volcano that had been transformed into a giant battery, and the world’s biggest solar cell plant in the middle of the Moroccan desert. During the autumn the journey set off again, focusing on important climate innovations in Sweden. The journalistic pieces ranged from a professor who produces his own petrol and hides his invention from foreign industrial spies to a fish that is cultivated on land, a house that is fully self-sufficient in electricity, how hydrogen technology can revolutionize the market and cutting-edge solar power technology.
The readers were ecstatic, and the amount of e-mails the reporter received from tech-interested readers was overwhelming.
Read the stories (in Swedish)
”I wish people could understand that I am for real, that I exist.”
The quote comes from Pim, one of the transgender persons who was a part of Mitt ID (My identity), a project launched in March 2017 by Aftonbladet- Sweden.
In three TV documentaries and a series of articles about gender identity, Aftonbladet focused on a question that has rarely or never been asked in the Swedish media: what is it like to be a young transgender person in Sweden?
We described their hard struggle for their right to be themselves, and let this vulnerable and growing group in our society, which for a long time has been forced to fight in the dark, to have their say. When we told these stories, we challenged established norms and gave people insight into and knowledge about the concept of gender identity.
A powerful reaction
Pim, Cameron and Josefine invited the viewers and readers into their reality – and the reactions were powerful.
Our audit showed that one in two transgender people has considered suicide, that the number of gender reassignment processes is increasing by 100 percent each year, and that people have to wait longer and longer to get help with their transition.
“We can see the patterns in the US and in eastern Europe. When powerful people try to withdraw the rights of other human beings, we have to support those human beings. Or we will never be able to change anything in the world,” says Frida Söderlund, the Aftonbladet reporter who worked on the Mitt ID story. Aftonbladet created a digital platform where all the content was published. We specifically wanted to target young people between 14 and 30, and the platform became an environment in which they felt comfortable. Our users wanted to interact and discuss the subject, and for one week we made it possible for them to engage with experts, transgender people and reporters about the Mitt ID project.
We let the question of gender identity dominate our news coverage, and politicians were finally forced to react. They announced that they would try to change the law so that the government can no longer decide the legal gender of individuals.
”We noticed a big change after Mitt ID was published. It was like people couldn’t hide from us anymore and we were suddenly being both heard and noticed at a political level,” said Mia Mulder from the organization Transförsvaret. Mitt ID won the award for Norm-breaking Project at the 2017 Meg Awards.
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This is a story of how a widow changed the Norwegian health care system by Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.
The 31-year-old father of two had cancer that had spread to his pancreas, intestines and to all his bones. The doctors in Norway were clear that they could not cure him, but his strongest wish was to live. A cancer clinic in Germany seemed to be the answer, but after 20 days at the clinic he died, with no family members present, after spending 3.6 million kroner on treatment.
The man’s young widow, Ninni, told her story to Aftenposten, which then launched an in-depth investigation to find out how Norwegian patients were treated at this clinic. It turned out that 31 out of 38 patients had died.
One in three Norwegians develop cancer during their lifetime. More and more seek treatment abroad when the treatment they receive in Norway fails to work. They feel abandoned by the Norwegian health service, and are willing to pay up to a million kroner from their own pocket.
On 5 August 2017, the Norway’s health minister Bent Høie ordered Norwegian hospitals to implement a national system whereby severely ill patients can seek advice from an expert panel when traditional treatment no longer has any effect. This means that patients whose doctors have told them that they cannot be cured can be considered for alternative treatment elsewhere in Norway or abroad, paid for by public funds. It had been eight years since such an expert panel was first proposed. Each time, the Directorate of Health said no.
It took a series of articles in Aftenposten to provide the most severely ill patients with such an offer. Ninni’s story helped change the Norwegian health care system.
The Swedish pension company Allra was one of the largest pension funds in the country, handling SEK 19 billion for 130,000 customers. But all of that changed after Joel Dahlberg’s investigation. Joel is a reporter at Schibsted’s Swedish newspaper Svenska dagbladet, and his revelations about Allra, ended up improving the Swedish pension system.
Allra was a true success story with the young Alexander Ernstberger as CEO and several well-known financial and political figures on the board. But thanks to solid investigative reporting, SvD could tell a different story about a company that lied about its returns and the costs of the pension funds it managed, and about its involvement in financial
SvD´s articles led to the arrest of the founder Alexander Ernstberger and marked the beginning of one of the most extensive financial crime investigations in Sweden of the past century. The Swedish government withdrew its appointment of the former minister of justice and Allra board member Thomas Bodström as the new Governor of Stockholm County. Allra was thrown out of the Swedish pension system, and SvD’s scoop also led to moves to review the whole pension system.
Read all articles in the Allra story at Svenska Dagbladet.