Serb Diva Charged With Embezzlement

Serbian singer Ceca, who is equally well-known as the widow of ultra-nationalist paramilitary leader Zeljko Raznatovic, has been charged with embezzling funds from a football club and illegal possession of weapons.

Ceca – real name Svetlana Raznatovic – has been under investigation for these offenses for more than seven years, and some global media including the UK’s The Guardian have reported that many Serbs believe that only her political connections have kept her out of court.

She reportedly pleaded guilty April 11 in a plea deal that will see her under house arrest for a year and a euro 1.5 million fine.

Time started to run out for Ceca in November. Her husband, better known as Arkan, was a Serb warlord whose troops killed and pillaged the homes of non-Serbs in the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

The state prosecutors’ office said that between 2000 and 2003 she illegally profited from the sale of players from FK Obilic Belgrade to foreign clubs.

Ceca, one of the highest-paid artists in the Balkan music industry, has previously said the club was left to her by her husband and he’d arranged the transfers before he was killed.

He was gunned down in the lobby of Belgrade’s InterContinental Hotel in 2000.

She said the guns that were found when her house was searched had also belonged to her late husband, who’d supplemented his paramilitary career by being a major figure in the Belgrade criminal underworld.

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.

Ceca was reportedly still in touch with some of her late husband’s contacts, which would allegedly include most of the country’s numerous crime bosses, drug traffickers and former paramilitary leaders.