A BUSINESSMAN who stood accused of having made nearly £75,000 through an illegal pyramid scheme has been cleared of all charges.

Gerwyn Duggan, 48, encouraged people to sign up to the Synkronice scheme with presentations at hotels including the Hilton in Langstone and The Park Inn in Heathrow, a court heard.

He generated around £74,000 through Synkronice and a related social media website Spinglo in two years.

Up to 10,000 people joined the Spinglo website in Newport alone but the scheme later collapsed, the court heard.

Mr Duggan, of Amelia Way, Newport, maintained he had exercised "due diligence" in trying to ensure the scheme was within the law by taking legal advice.

His barrister, Matthew Roberts, stressed that his client was not a director but only a "tool" in the selling process, adding he had not designed or crafted any of the materials.

A jury comprising four men and eight women found him not guilty of one charge of engaging in an unfair commercial practice, two of acquiring criminal property and a further count of transferring criminal property.

Speaking to the Argus after the verdict, Mr Duggan said: "I feel very relieved after this having been going on for 18 months.

"This is isn't just a victory for myself but a win for the entire network marketing industry.

"I took legal advice when I started with all due diligence. As a jury has proved today, my opinion of and faith in the business was well placed.

"In my opinion, at a time when Newport council and all other councils are facing dramatic cutbacks, for trading standards to pursue a case costing so much, for which they clearly demonstrated so little understanding, as a local businessman and council tax payer, I feel this is a shameful waste of their time and resources."

The court heard that Mr Duggan had given presentations at hotels in Newport, London and Ireland to recruit people to the scheme.

Members bought “packages” which contained a self-help programme and cost between £199 and £1,500.

Judge Patrick Curran, QC, granted Mr Roberts a two-week adjournment to determine the issue of court costs.