Hong Kong's anti-corruption watchdog says it has charged the former leader of the southern Chinese financial hub with misconduct, in one of the city's biggest-ever graft scandals.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption said in a statement Monday that Donald Tsang faces two counts of misconduct in public office.

The agency said Tsang was due to appear in a magistrate's court in the afternoon.

The allegations date from shortly before Tsang left office in June 2012 and concern a discounted luxury apartment rental in neighboring Shenzhen in mainland China from a wealthy friend.

It is one of several recent cases that have shaken public confidence and raised concerns about cozy ties between wealthy tycoons and the city's leaders.