Middle Eastern investors trying to buy control of Financial General Bankshares Inc. yesterday won a two-week extension of the deadline for making a tender offer for the bank holding company.

The Securities and Exchange Commission agreed to the temporary extension, saying ti needed more time to study recent developments in the complex 18-month-old takeover fight.

A July 18 deadline for making the tender offer was set last year when the Middle Eastern group settled an SEC complaint charging the group had broken the law in purchasing about 20 percent of Financial General's shares.

To settle the SEC lawsuit, the group agreed to make an offer for all the stock for at least $15 a share, the highest price paid for the original block.

A few weeks ago, attorney Robert Altman, who represents the Middle Eastern group, announced they had raised the offering price to $22 a share.

But the tender offer has been blocked by failure of Altman's clients to obtain necessary approvals from federal and state banking regulators.

Altman and Financial General lawyer Martin Thaler confirmed that the two groups have held talks recently. "I would not characterize them as negotiations," Thaler said.

Under terms of the SEC settlement, the Middle Eastern group must either make a tender offer for Financial General or dispose of all its shares in the $2 billion Washington company.

The Middle Eastern investors include Kamal Adham, brother-in-law of the former King of Saudi Arabia; Faisal Saud al-Fulaiq, former chairman of Kuwait Airways; the son of the ruler of Abu Dhabi; and other investors affiliated with Bank of Credit and Commerce International, a London-based financial institution.