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Serbia folk diva back in court

December 26, 2011
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BELGRADE, Serbia—Serbia's folk diva Svetlana Raznatovic on Monday denied charges of violent behavior she and another defendant are facing for allegedly insulting and beating up the manager of a football club.

Raznatovic claimed at a court hearing that it was she who was insulted.

"He (the manager) even wanted to attack me," she told the court. "I have never caused any incidents."

The hearing was briefly interrupted when the singer complained she was feeling ill and asked for a glass of water.

Raznatovic is already serving eight months under house arrest as part of a plea bargain for pleading guilty in an illegal sale of players from her late husband's football club.

The plea deal from May also envisaged that Raznatovic pay (EURO)1.5 million ($2 million) fine for embezzling millions gained from the players' transfer.

Raznatovic, better known as Ceca, is one of the most popular singers in the Balkans, known for her plunging necklines and hoarse voice.

She was married to the notorious warlord Zeljko Raznatovic, also known as Arkan, whose troops were accused of atrocities during the 1990s Balkan wars.

Arkan was gunned down in a Belgrade hotel in 2000, but Ceca continued to manage his football club while allegedly also maintaining connections with Serbian crime bosses and former paramilitary leaders.

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