Shkëlzen Berisha, son of former Prime Minister Sali Berisha, has filed a lawsuit against author Guy Lawson of War Dogs, as well as his publisher, Simon & Schuster. Berisha has sued them over “false, incendiary, and defamatory allegations of [his] involvement in organized crime, corruption, and a scheme to defraud the Unites States government.” The book, published in 2015, also stood at the basis of a recent film with the same title.
War Dogs relates the story of three Florida natives, who are also accused in Berisha’s lawsuit, working for the company AEY. After winning a government contract to supply ammunition to the US military in Afghanistan, they start repackaging communist surplus ammunition from China and the Balkans.
The story is intimately linked with Albania, as the Gërdec explosion on March 15, 2008, at 12:05, was the result of unsafe working conditions while the repackaging work was done in a military compound.
It has been claimed that the family of former Prime Minister Sali Berisha family was personally involved in the arms traffic and its repackaging by local contractor Albademil in Gërdec. Shkëlzen Berisha was presumably in close contact with Albademil director Mihal Delijorgji. In his lawsuit, Shkëlzen Berisha claims that:
This action arises from the elaborate deceptions of convicted con men and the slipshod, bad-faith reporting of a so-called investigative journalist. It is an action for defamation. Yet, as set out in painstaking detail herein, it is fundamentally a story of how greed, fraud and the careless pursuit for notoriety, combined to destroy the reputation of a good man.
Further on in the lawsuit, Berisha states that the book “exploit[s] and innocent person in service of fraud.” To be clear, both “a good man” and “innocent person” refer to Berisha himself.
In January, the Appeals Court declared the Ministry of Defense responsible for the Gërdec explosion. Delijorgji spent 3 months and 24 days in jail for the explosion, while the politicians responsible never faced trial.