back to article Beeb stuffs $21tn into Olympic-sized swimming pools

The BBC has agreebly calculated that the amount of wonga Brits have squirrelled away in offshore accounts would fill no less than 10,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The total in question is $21tn, or £13.5tn. Were this substantial wedge "denominated in $1 bills", it would occupy rather a lot of Olympic Park Aquatics Centres …


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  1. SuperTim

    Measurement confusion.

    I understand using olympic sized pools for volume, but why use dollar bills for a UK currency measure. Are fivers not good enough? or quid coins? or big whisky bottles full of shrapnel?

    1. Wize

      Re: Measurement confusion.

      I still have a few pound notes knocking about (Scottish ones were still in circulation long after the bank of England stopped using them)

    2. Shagbag

      Re: Measurement confusion.

      Yes. And they should use the expression "stuffed to the gunwhales" rather than "packed to the rafters" as the former is more British.

    3. craigj

      Re: Measurement confusion.

      Re: why use dollar bills for a UK currency measure. Are fivers not good enough?

      Because then the story doesn't sound as impressive (Not that I'm condoning it).

      If they're just trying to make the number seem bigger, why not tell us how many olympic sized pools of 1p coins this could fill

      1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Re: Measurement confusion.

        Because calculating how many rectangular objects that will fit into a bigger rectangular is simple enough math, however calculating the number of circles you can pack into a rectangular object is a variation of Kepler's Sphere Packing Conjecture and the maths may a bit beyond your average jurno. . . . . and about 99.999999% of the worlds population

  2. Dazzz

    I thought the 21tn figure was the total offshored cash for the whole world not just brits?

    Just a slight detail mind you...

    1. ADJB

      If its the whole worlds off-shored cash does this mean there is an underwater Fort Knox equivalent probably somewhere near Atlantis?

      1. Silverburn

        Fort Knox

        There has to be. It's where Goldfinger keeps his pile of uncontaminated gold.

      2. Tim Worstal


        And it's not the world's offshore cash either. It#s where assets are nominally owned. Like, for example, many UK tax offices which HMRC entered into a ease deal with an offshore company with.

        And we do know who owns those so the TJN are full of shit once again.

    2. Don Jefe


      You are correct. The $21tn figure is the whole of the worlds monies that is stuffed "some place" to avoid taxes or questions.

      My question is how reliable that figure is. If the funds are being secreted away in "totally secure and private" facilities then either someone spilled the beans or some economist is making a guesstimate that will only serve to give governments everywhere more reason to pry into my business/wallet.

      1. Dazzz

        Re: @Dazzz

        We may have to ask for Lester to be punished for failing to comprehend a dumbed down BBC news story :-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Dazzz

        "My question is how reliable that figure is"

        Probably more than adequately accurate, looking at the Tax Justice Network's web site. Don't forget that the $21trn includes legitimate private wealth, criminal wealth, and legitimate corporate funds, that TJN consider to be "unjustly" avoiding tax. So potentially that's US corporations using Delaware to reduce tax liabilities, UK corporations with their captive insurance operations based in the Channel Islands, and any global corporation moving money to where corporation taxes are low. So Amazon and Google are big UK tax avoiders, using completely legitimate practices within the EU, and many US companies use Ireland to avoid paying higher mainland European tax rates.

        Be warned before you visit that it's pretty dreadful - very, very difficult to get a feel. Millions of links, lots of method, repetitive verbiage, but they've not made the real content easy to find or use. Indeed, they need a journalist and a technologist to help them out, in my humble opinion. Taking selected TJN snippets to assemble my own view, I guess that about half of the claimed $21trn is legitimately held by wealthy private individuals, one third is corporate funds, and the remaining one sixth is criminal wealth.

        Rather than questioning the number, this fundamentally boils down to two simple questions:

        "If it is legal, is it wrong?

        And "If it is wrong, why is it legal?"

    3. xerocred

      I think they misread the "account number" instead of "account balance".

      Or maybe they didn't see the -ve sign in front of it.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      world's offshored cash

      How can the world have offshore cash? Is it stored in Martian swimming pools deep underground (that's where all the water went)?

      HSBC: "The solar system's local bank".

      NatWest: "To save and invest, come to Venus."

      RBS: "Make it so!"

      Barclays: "We can manipulate Libor on Neptune, but we prefer Uranus."

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Jerome 0

      Re: Don't forget Homo Heisenbergensis

      Could be worse - when Homo Schrödingeris buried their dead, no-one one was sure if they were dead or alive.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Don't forget Homo Heisenbergensis

        Not a problem.

        Quantum uncertainty only applies if you're a cat. If you're alive, your consciousness collapses the wave function.

        Of course if you're dead it can't, so you can only ever be sure that you're dead if you're - er - not.

  4. undeadMonkey93

    How many more swimming pools if we include the money BBC stars (were supposedly forced to) "squirrell away" in self owned companies to avoid tax?

  5. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Register units catching on

    Yesterday a BBC commentator said that the Olympic swimming pool was the size of an Olympic swimming pool. How did he know? Where can I get a tape measure marked out in Olympic swimming pool lengths, widths and depths?

    1. Vic

      Re: Register units catching on

      > Where can I get a tape measure marked out in Olympic swimming pool lengths, widths and depths?

      I can sell you one. For a smalle fee...


    2. Stoneshop

      Re: Register units catching on

      Elsewhere (in an article linked to in the one about the swimming pools), the Beeb is expressing area in doormats, which calculate to be equal to 0.011551246 nanowales.

  6. philbo

    It would make the diving more fun, though..

    ..just picture, Tom Daley doing four-and-a-half turns into a huge pile of wampum.

  7. FanMan

    British Airways got there first

    BA likewise proudly measure in OSP's the amount of airborne "tea" they serve each year. It sure tastes like that's where they got the water for the manky tepid Millac-infested swill.

  8. Scott 19


    Hey if the B-BBC want to raise their standard of journalism (tongue firmly in cheeky) to the Reg's standard who can blame them.

  9. Pen-y-gors


    Am I the only one here who actually has absolutely no idea how big an OSP actually is? Could we have an alternative non-sporting term instead? Double-decker bus?

    1. An0n C0w4rd

      Re: Errm...

      I love how certain programs on Discovery (and other related channels) compare things to Boeing 747s. "<x> weighs as much as <y> Boeing 747s". Which is an utterly meaningless comparison for 99.99% of viewers who have no concept of how much a 747 weighs. And then there is the lack of appropriate specifics. What are they comparing about the 747? Maximum take-off weight (MTOW)? Empty weight? etc

      P.S. 95% of statistics are made up

      1. Miek

        Re: Errm...

        It has sixteen wheels and weighs roughly 400 tonnes (MTOW).

  10. Pen-y-gors

    The beeb are now going the other way...

    Just noticed this example of Beeb measurement conversion:

    "The council said in the 24 hours before the flood more than 190mm (19cms)of water fell on the Nant-y-Moch reservoir in Ponterwyd, near Aberystwyth, which resulted in some of it being released."

    Presumably the conversion is for people who have trouble visualising the size of a millimetre.

  11. Efros

    IP infringed?

    Are you guys going to sue?

    Are you offering FRAND.

    Does this have any prior art you should be feart of?

    How many beers will the settlement equate to?

  12. disgruntled yank

    dollars per second

    Shouldn't we we pro-rate for inflation?

  13. Only me!


    What has happened to the Wales measurement?

    Surely the story should be saying how many Wales £21tn of £5 notes would cover!

    What has happen to the youth of respect for tradition!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Stoneshop

      Re: Wales?

      $ units

      2543 units, 72 prefixes, 56 nonlinear units

      You have: 21 * 10^12 * 135 * 70 mm^2

      You want: wales

      * 9.5514363

      / 0.1046963

      You have:

      How hard was that? Furrfu

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    World gone mad.

    Measuring money in swimming pools what rubbish!!

    We all know the standard measurements for money is in double decker buses stacked up or distance to the moon, that is what I have grown up with.

    If in dollars its in Empire States or if euros its in Eiffel Towers.

  15. Gannon (J.) Dick


    And the breakdown by Bank Account of the persons mentioned or appearing (excluding parachutists) in the Opening Ceremonies is ...

    El Reg, I've pushed the submit button several times. Nothing is happening. What's Up ?

  16. Chris Evans

    An 'Olympic Size swimming pool' has a set length (50m) and Width (25m) but only a minimum depth (2m) so any use volumetrically is stupid!

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