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Oxford University defends $180MM donation from Vietnamese billionaire ‘Madame Thao’ amid investigation

  • Oxford University’s Linacre College is defending its acceptance of a $180 million donation from Vietnam’s first self-made woman billionaire, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao.

Oxford University’s Linacre College is defending its acceptance of a $180 million donation from Vietnam’s first self-made woman billionaire, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao.

Nguyen, widely known as Madam Thao, is Vietnam’s first and only woman billionaire who began her career selling fax machines and latex rubber as a student in Russia, which was then the Soviet Union. By the age of 21, Nguyen made her first million and is now estimated to have a net worth of $2.7 billion. She currently runs VietJet airline and a large property empire, with investments in offshore oil and gas exploration as well as fossil fuel financing.