July 22, 2024

‘I didn’t steal funds, and I certainly didn’t stash billions away’

City A.M. takes a look back at the year highlighting some of the most memorable quotes in the world of business and politics.

Sultan Al-Jaber

Please help me, show me the road map for a phase-out of fossil fuel that will allow for sustainable socioeconomic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves.

This was Sultan Al-Jaber speaking as the head of the COP28 climate conference, who is also the chief executive of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil company, Adnoc. The conference, perhaps unsurprisingly, did not agree to fully phase out fossil fuels. Instead, the deal, which is not legally-binding, calls on all countries to “transition away” from fossil fuels.

Elon Musk

If someone is going to try to blackmail me with advertising… Go f*ck yourself. Go f*ck yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.

Elon Musk describes his attitude towards advertisers refusing to return to X, formerly Twitter, crystal clear. X has had a tough year, stating last month that it was only worth $19bn, down from $44bn in 2022.

Sam Bankman-Fried

I didn’t steal funds, and I certainly didn’t stash billions away.

Sam Bankman-Fried pleads not guilty to fraud charges in a blog post months before being found guilty of stealing money from his now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange company FTX, in what has been described as one of the biggest financial frauds on record.

Geoffrey Hinton

I’m just a scientist who suddenly realised that these things are getting smarter than us. I want to sort of blow the whistle and say, ‘We should worry seriously about how we stop these things getting control over us.’

Geoffrey Hinton, a British scientist dubbed the “Godfather of AI”, quit his job at Google this year due to major concerns about the dangers of artificial intelligence (AI), such as its potential ability to spread misinformation and overhaul the jobs market.


At best he is seen as xenophobic and pandering to racists, and at worst, he is seen as xenophobic and racist.

OK, so it’s not quite a quote, but this story couldn’t go unmentioned in summing up 2023. This is one of the key quotes included in an internal Coutts report describing some of the reasons why it decided to close Nigel Farage’s bank account. The story ultimately led to the resignation of Alison Rose, the former chief exec of Natwest, which owns Coutts, as well as major scrutiny from MPs and regulators on the issue of debanking.

Suella Braverman

Suella Braverman sparks outrage after voicing her ideas on how homelessness should be dealt with in the UK. She was sacked by the Prime Minister a week later after further incendiary rhetoric around the pro-Palestine marches taking place in London at the time.

Michelle Mone

Saying to the press, ‘I’m not involved’, to protect my family, can I just make this clear, it’s not a crime … I was protecting my family.”

This quote is from former Conservative peer Michelle Mone as she defended herself in an interview with the BBC where she admitted that she lied to the public when denying her involvement with a company, PPE Medpro, that made millions from government contracts issued during the Covid-19 pandemic. The National Crime Agency is currently conducting a criminal investigation into alleged offences in the procurement of the contracts by the company.

Pope Francis

The future of us all depends on the present that we now choose.

A slightly more sobering final quote here from Pope Francis, who warned against the devastation
climate change will bring if we don’t act quickly, calling the destruction of the environment an “offence against God.”

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