The number of requests made by foreign governments for information about serious financial crimes increased 62 per cent last year, according to new research.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) consulted on a total of 55 mutual legal assistance (MLA) requests following referrals from the Home Office in 2015. Only 34 such requests, which typically involve a £1m plus fraud, were transferred to the SFO in 2014.

While the number of referrals is small in comparison to the total number of MLA requests received by the UK government, which totals 5,728, the figure has been increasing year-on-year and has more than doubled since 2012.

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