Ceca The Devious Diva
Serbian folk diva Svetlana “Ceca” Raznatovic could face 12 years in jail if convicted of embezzling $3 million from the sale of soccer players from a club that was left to her by her notorious warlord husband.
On Nov. 23 the state prosecutors’ office said that between 2000 and 2003 she illegally profited from the sale of seven players from FK Obilic Belgrade to foreign clubs.
Having already become one of the highest-paid artists in the region’s music industry, in 1995 she married ÿeljko Raznatovic Arkan, a Serb warlord whose troops killed and pillaged the homes of non-Serbs in the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
Commonly known as “Arkan,” in 2000 he was gunned down in the lobby of Belgrade’s Inter Continental Hotel. Many in the Serbian and even global media believe Ceca has stayed in touch with her late husband’s contacts, which would allegedly include most of the country’s numerous crime bosses, drug traffickers and paramilitary leaders.
His career in crime was so successful he had more than enough money to have influence, from which he gained political contacts and became a paramilitary leader.
At the time of his assassination, he was awaiting trial on war crimes. He’d been on Interpol’s “most wanted” list for nearly two decades.
Toward the end of the war he bought FK Obiliÿ, then in Yugoslavia’s second league, and within three years turned it around to the extent it won the first league title in ’98.
The singer was originally arrested for embezzling from her soccer club in 2003, when police also found what she claimed to be her late husband’s firearms. She was reportedly suspected of harbouring people believed to be connected with the killing of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.
Ceca has claimed that most of the transfers were arranged in advance by her late husband.
Some global media – including the UK’s The Guardian – have reported that many in Serbia believe her political connections have delayed the subsequent embezzlement investigation to the point it’s taken seven years.
The club sold players but didn’t receive the money. The prosecutors alleged the singer’s sister arranged for the money to be diverted to personal bank accounts they’d set up outside of the country.
Three days after the prosecutors’ announcement, Ceca was performing live at Boris Trajkovski Arena in Skopje, Macedonia.