A Russian awaiting trial in the United States has appealed to both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for help in perhaps the most high-profile of ways: hiring a flying banner over New York City.
But if Vadim Vasilenko, an alleged cybercriminal imprisoned five years ago on charges of laundering $47 million, fails to attract attention that way, he has promised to take his appeal to the Virgin Mary.
“Today, I appeal to Romney – it seems to me he’s closer to businessmen,” Vasilenko, who faces up to 45 years in prison if the case reaches trial by jury, told RIA Novosti by phone from prison. “Tomorrow, my appeal to the Virgin Mary will take to the skies, in case the politicians don’t hear me.”
Vasilenko, an ex-Soviet citizen nicknamed “the Russian,” hired a light aircraft to fly a banner over Manhattan and Brighton Beach for an hour Monday reading, “Romney, help!” He did the same last week for Obama.
A court date for Vasilenko has not yet been set. He has denied acting with criminal intent, but said he is prepared to admit partial guilt in exchange for the time served and his deportation to Russia.