ACCRA, PARIS - A French official got into wood exportation without paying any taxes on this commercial activity. Despite his presence in the Panama Papers he was awarded the French Order of Merit.

Jean-Louis Chanel is the name of a former France-Ghana business counsellor listed in the Panama Papers, among thousands of other names linked to infamous law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Despite his name appearing in the leaks in 2016, his appointment as counsellor was renewed up to November 2019. He was even awarded the French Order of Merit as a recognition of 36 years of service to the French state.

How does France consider someone with links to a tax haven as the suitable representation of its values abroad? And was this shell company owned by Chanel in full compliance with Ghana tax regulations at the time? What kind of business activity was it involved in?

Following the track of his offshore company Sylvafrica through international customs data, this investigation shows how this official, also a multifaceted businessman, got into wood exportation without paying any taxes on this commercial activity, according to his own word.

While only two transactions of a value of around 94,000 euro have been discovered behind the name Sylvafrica, Jean-Louis Chanel admitted a wood export activity of 10 years, on which he did not pay any taxes.

The French state refused to comment on why they had maintained the counsellor at his position despite the Panama Papers revelations.

Image: painting of Jean-Louis Chanel, courtesy of Ghana Business News

Team members

Alexandre Brutelle

Alexandre Brutelle is a foreign reporter and freelance investigative journalist.

Alexandre Brutelle

Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

Emmanuel K. Dogbevi (Ghana) has been practicing journalism for almost three decades, covering environment, health, business and finance.

Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
€7,300 awarded on 21/11/2019

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