Boyko Borisov was found guilty of malicious slander by a Sofia Regional Court judge in a case brought on by Elena Yoncheva, a TV journalist and now an MP for the opposition BSP, or Bulgarian Socialist Party.
Yoncheva, who is an outspoken critic of Borisov's GERB and his ultranationalist coalition partners, sued when Borisov said that the state had spent "millions" on funding Yoncheva's TV international programmes.
Borisov made the remarks while speaking in Burgas, a GERB stronghold, and then repeated them numerous times in various media appearances. Yoncheva responded that if the court found Borisov was a liar he should step out of politics.
The court sentenced Borisov to pay 5,000 leva to Yoncheva. Half of the money is to be paid by Borisov personally and the other half by his GERB which, the court found, had empowered him to speak publicly on its behalf.
Some of the evidence examined by the court included Bulgarian National Television contracts with Yoncheva which failed to corroborate the allegation that she had received such sums for any of her broadcasts.
The news about Borisov's indictment was reported only in passing in some of the mainstream media.