The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is closing more cases without charge since Lisa Osofsky was appointed as director.

According to the organisation’s annual report for the year ended 31 March, 14 cases were dropped in the year, compared with seven in the previous three years combined. The SFO’s workload now stands at 70 cases.

Fewer defendants were also charged in the past 12 months compared with previous years. While 28 defendants were charged in 2017-18, just eight were charged this year.

The SFO faced criticism in February after it announced the closure of two long-running bribery and corruption investigations, into Rolls-Royce and GlaxoSmithKline.

The investigation into Rolls-Royce resulted in a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), where the aircraft engine maker had to pay penalties of more than £670m. Investigations which ended in DPAs are not included in the 14 cases closed without charge.

In an introduction to the report, Osofsky says: ‘The SFO remains firmly focused on undertaking the effective investigation and prosecution of top-tier serious and complex economic crime. I am eager for the SFO to remain a trusted leader in this fight.’