Leading defence lawyer Zhang Jianzhong has been formally charged with perjury and will be put on trial next Tuesday. Lawyer Shen Zhigeng, who is defending Zhang, said his client had been accused of giving false testimony while representing the former head of the Zhongguancun branch of the Beijing Urban Co-operative Bank, Huo Haiyin, in a corruption case last year. Huo was sentenced to death by the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court two weeks ago for corruption, misappropriation of 1.13 billion (HK$1.06 billion) in public funds and forgery. The bank allegedly lost two billion yuan because of Huo. Zhang's case will be heard in the same court on Tuesday. Another legal source said Zhang was accused of presenting a legal authorisation document with a forged date which allowed him to act on behalf of Huo. Investigators say the document was illegally issued after Huo's arrest, while Zhang claims it was issued before the arrest. Zhang, a leading defence counsel on the mainland, had handled several sensitive cases including that of former National People's Congress (NPC) vice-chairman Cheng Kejie and the former vice-minister of public security, Li Jizhou. Both were sentenced to death for corruption. Zhang was detained by police in May at the airport in Beijing as he was about to leave for Canada. He was formally arrested on June 6, said Du Lianjun, a colleague of Zhang's at the Beilin Concord Legal Office. The case has sent shivers through mainland legal circles. Beijing lawyer Mo Shaoping said the allegation of perjury was based on a vague legal provision in the Criminal Law and that about 30 NPC legislators had signed a petition calling for the clause to be removed. He said lawyers were in a 'special profession' and should be exempt from certain legal liabilities. Mr Mo said about 500 lawyers had been arrested for perjury in the past few years, but less than 1 per cent were eventually prosecuted. The Beijing Lawyers' Association has expressed concern over Zhang's case and plans to hold a seminar tomorrow to discuss the perjury clause.