It’s December on Miami Beach and convertibles are cruising down Ocean Drive with their tops down. Tourists are wearing T-shirts and shorts and sipping mojitos in bars and restaurants. In the late afternoon, and a comfortable 26 degrees Celsius. Most of the 15 million foreigners who visit Florida each year come to escape the winter.
But some aren’t here for the sun and cocktails. They come to launder their money, or at least, hide it from the taxman. And soon, once the Trump administration’s new tax reform comes into effect, there may well be a lot more of them.
People like Michael are there to help them. Smartly dressed in a blue suit, light-gray shirt and thin tie, he’s chosen to meet with us at a discreet table in a café, Pasion del Cielo. He only gives his first name and has warned about asking any personal questions – if we do, the interview will be over.
Michael tells us about his job as director of more than 120 limited liability companies where rich people can hide their wealth from the tax authorities.