Russian promoter Michael Shurygin has quit the war-torn Ukrainian market, amid allegations that he and a number of his fellow countrymen haven’t made refunds for shows cancelled due to the unrest.

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Photo: AP Photo / Marko Drobnjakovic

Ukraine Unrest - Anti-Yanukovych protesters detain a suspected thief in Kiev's Independence Square.

The St. Petersburg-based concert organiser and Ukrainian ticket agency chief Maxim Plahtiy are trading so many claims and counterclaims that they could be mimicking their national leaders. Plahtiy, who runs Karabas, an offshoot of Russian ticketing company Kassir.ru that claims about 10 percent of the Ukrainian market, says Shurygin has “deceived ticket-buyers and escaped with money.”

He told local media that Shurygin owes local ticketholders about $400,000. He said ticketing operators weren’t able to return the money for tickets because it had been passed on to NCA. Local ticket-buyers were reportedly forming groups to bring criminal charges against the company.

Shurygin denies pulling out of the market to avoid dealing with the refunds and tells Pollstar that he got out of the territory because “there is absolutely no sense to make any moves in Kiev nowadays if you are from Russia.” “The company returned the money to everyone who had applied for refunds in the given period. Moreover, NCA in Russia is still offering a free ticket exchange to any of our Russian shows to those who may have not received a refund,” he said, although he did concede that “very few people have applied for such an exchange.”

NCA’s upcoming Russian shows include Muse, Robbie Williams, Fall Out Boy, Nick Cave, Limp Bizkit, Julio Iglesias, and Scooter, among others. Shurygin also says he’s let the company go to its local Kiev management, which bore the brunt of some local media criticism. “The pressure was on the company management who had to deal with the district authorities on issues related to show cancellations,” he explained. “I was told that in spite of them being Ukrainian citizens, they were repeatedly accused of running the business for ‘Russian occupants, which was also said in the Kiev media.”

Shurygin says if he’d stayed in the market he would have sued Plahity for the comments he’s made about NCA. “I would have sued to protect my business reputation as the guy is spreading false information,” he told Pollstar.